SA Prez on 4-day India visit, to meet PM on Friday

A South African delegation led by President Jacob Zuma is on a four-day India visit to strengthen the strategic partnership and economic and commercial interaction between the two countries.

Updated: Jun 01, 2010, 20:49 PM IST

Mumbai: A South African delegation led by
President Jacob Zuma is on a four-day India visit to
strengthen the strategic partnership and economic and
commercial interaction between the two countries.

The President, accompanied by a 200-member delegation of
South African industry representatives and seven Cabinet
ministers, will begin his visit from Mumbai tomorrow and will
meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Friday.

"During this visit, the agenda will be signing agreements
on agriculture, diplomatic relations and aviation," South
Africa`s High Commissioner to India, H E Majeke, said.

In agriculture, South Africa is mainly looking at food
processing and technology, especially for improving
production, he said.

South Africa wants to increase cooperation in five key
sectors like manufacturing and infrastructure, small and
medium industries and skill development, information and
communication technology and services, tourism, entertainment
and maritime and logistics.

Transfer of skills is another area in which South Africa
is interested. "Poverty is a major issue for both the
countries and to improve the situation, we have to empower the
youth. During the President`s visit, we are looking forward to
a partnership with India in helping us identify skills that
can benefit the youth," he said.

Majeke said the entertainment industry, especially
Bollywood, also provides great potential and South Africa
wants to capitalise on it.

He, however, said there is a need for a monitoring
mechanism, especially to oversee the time-frame of
implementing the agreements and keeping checks and balances
on them.

So far, India and South Africa have signed 33 agreements
and three more will be signed during Zuma`s visit.

The President will be accompanied by a South African
business contingent from an array of sectors, including
energy, financial services, chemicals, mining and
beneficiation, ICT, automotives and infrastructure.

Bilateral trade between India and South Africa increased
to USD 7.5 billion in 2008-09 from USD 6.2 billion in 2007-08.
While South Africa`s exports grew to USD 5.5 billion in
2008-09, India`s shipments remained stable at USD 1.98 billion
in 2008-09, mainly on account of the global recession.

India features among the top 10 nations investing in
South Africa, with direct investment by companies such as
Tata, Cipla, Apollo, Godrej, Genpact, Mahindra and Mahindra
and Aurobindo Pharmaceuticals estimated at USD 6 billion.

PTI