The visit is significant since it takes place on the eve of the Group of Eight (G8) Summit scheduled for Germany to which President Mbeki has been invited as part of the African group. In addition it is anticipated that Prime Minister Blair will deliver a major policy speech focusing on Africa.
Prime Minister Blair has consistently emphasised the importance of Africa’s development by designating the year 2005 as the Year of Africa. As a consequence, Africa’s development was primary item on the agenda of the G8 Summit held in Gleneagles and many of the recommendations of the commission for Africa were taken up at the Gleneagles Summit building on the G8 Africa Action Plan launched at Kananaskis in Canada in 2002.
Much of this was incorporated into an agreed, detailed set of commitments by the G8 to address the areas of poverty, covering aspects such as peace and security, good governance, human development and growth.
The British government views South Africa as a major strategic partner in Africa and South Africa expects that this relationship will be consolidated by Prime Minister Blair’s successor. Accordingly Prime Minister Blair’s visit will afford us an opportunity to review our bilateral political, economic and trade relations and how they can be deepened. Source : Pretoria, May 27, 2007