South Africa and Algeria to step up relations
31 March 2015
Pretoria - Relations between South Africa and Algeria will experience a new impetus with the visit of President Jacob Zuma which starts this morning.
At the invitation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President Zuma arrived in Algiers, Algeria, for his state visit on Monday, the Presidency said.
The visit, which will be marked by the holding of the 6th Session of the Bi-national Commission of Cooperation (BNC), is another step in strengthening the traditional relations of friendship between the two countries.
Talks between the two presidents will help deepen the dialogue between South Africa and Algeria on important regional and global issues of mutual concern such as peace and security as well as to review the status of bilateral relations.
The President is also expected to sign several bilateral agreements with his Algerian counterpart.
The two countries enjoy close bilateral cooperation through the framework of the South Africa-Algeria BNC, whose work is centred on the following key areas of interaction: quality of life and human resources; people-to-people relations; energy and infrastructure; natural resources; defence; safety and security and trade.
In addition to further consolidating these areas of cooperation, the 6th BNC which will be convened by Minister of International Relations and Corporation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and her counterpart Minister Ramtane Lamamra on the side-lines of the State Visit, will cement collaboration in the areas of agriculture; energy; higher education; telecommunications and information technology; labour and social security; health; tourism; transport; human settlements; local government; and sports and recreation.
Since the convening of the 5th Session of the BNC, the two countries have made good progress, especially in the areas of Science and Technology, Defence, Arts and Culture and Trade and Investment.
Algeria is South Africa's largest trading partner in the region and bilateral trade has grown progressively over the last few years, therefore providing great potential to further enhance trade and investment co-operation.
It accounted for 32% of total trade in the North African region in 2014, while the total exports to Algeria were valued at R1.8 billion, while total imports from Algeria were valued at R86 million.
President Zuma is accompanied by Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Telecommunications and Postal Services’s Siyabonga Cwele and Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, President Zuma will proceed to Cairo, Egypt, for his working visit where he will hold official talks with President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi.
The working visit, according to the Presidency, aims to further strengthen and consolidate the strategic bilateral relations between the two countries and to reaffirm South Africa's commitment towards the strengthening of bilateral relations with Egypt through the convening of the 9th Session of the Joint Bilateral Commission (JBC). –SAnews.gov.za