Après les footballeurs Ronaldo (Brésil) et Zinedine Zidane (France), l’attaquant international ivoirien de Chelsea, Didier Drogba, agée de 28 ans, est nommé ambassadeur itinérant du Programme des Nations unies pour le développement (PNUD - ONU).
President Mbeki will later today Wednesday, 11 April 2007 conclude his visit to Sudan where he held discussions with President Omar el-Bashir and First Vice President Salva Kiir.
President Mbeki has been invited by President Chirac for consultations and to bid farewell ahead of the presidential elections in France on Saturday, 22 April 2007. The meeting takes place within the context of South Africa’s priority to consolidate bilateral political, economic and trade relations with France as part of efforts towards advancing North-South relations.
France is a member of the European Union, the Group of Eight (G-8) and one of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Issues on the agenda of discussions between Presidents Mbeki and Chirac are expected to include :
* the status of bilateral political and economic relations
* the promotion of the African Agenda in a G8 context (France is the largest donor and trading partner to Africa, a major investor on the continent and a traditional champion of Africa and the developing world on issues such as debt relief and sustainable development)
* conflict-resolution and post-election or post-conflict reconstruction in Africa, with reference to the situation in Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic Congo (DRC), Sudan or Darfur, Somalia and Zimbabwe
* multilateral co-operation, including the comprehensive reform of the United Nations system
* international issues of mutual concern such as Iran and the Middle East Peace Process.
President Mbeki is scheduled to return to South Africa on Friday, 13 April 2007.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Economic relations are continuously expanding. France ranks among South Africa’s 10 most significant economic partners (i.e. trade, investment, development assistance and research and development).
Bilateral trade has grown from R9 billion in 1998 to R25 billion in 2006. The total trade of R25,2 billion last year comprised R8,2 billion in South African exports and R17 billion in imports from France. In 2005, South Africa exported R6,5 billion worth of goods to France while importing R15,4 billion (total : R22 billion). In 2004, exports amounted to R5,5 billion and imports to R18,8 billion (total : R24,3 billion).
It is obvious that the balance of trade between South Africa and France remains heavily in France’s favour and renewed efforts are needed to promote South African exports, inter alia through the trade provisions of the South Africa-European Union Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement (SA-EU TDCA). Part of the large trade deficit is ascribed to the carry-through effect of South African Airways’s 2003 order for new Airbus aircraft.
According to Business Map, France’s is the ninth largest foreign direct investor in South Africa ($531 or R3 billion). There are about 160 French companies operating in South Africa, including many of the major French multinationals such as Total, Alcatel, Renault, Lafarge, Danone, Peugeot-Citroen, etc. The French construction company Bouygues Travaux Publiques and public transport operator RATP Development form part of the Bombela Consortium which was awarded the tender for the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link project.
Institutional economic links were initiated in 2004 with a visit to South Africa by a high-level delegation from the French employers’ federation MEDEF. They signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) to promote joint economic co-operation.
France’s Minister for International Trade, Christine Lagarde, visited South Africa with a large business delegation in November 2006 to co-inaugurate the SA-French Business Forum. The forum provided an opportunity for South African and French businesspeople to exchange views on doing business in Africa and to explore possible joint partnerships on the continent.
In February this year, the French Minister of Industry, Francois Loos, paid a two-day visit to South Africa and met with the Ministers of Trade and Industry and Public Enterprises. Mr Loos and the Minister of Minerals and Energy, Ms Buyelwa Sonjica, jointly addressed a seminar on nuclear energy and the two countries undertook to sign a co-operation agreement on high-level training and technical assistance in the nuclear energy industry. Source : Source : SAGI, 12 April 2007