Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to host Cuban Vice President for bilateral discussions

Pretoria- Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will tomorrow, Wednesday 01 February 2016, host his Cuban counterpart, Vice President of the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba Salvador Valdes Mesa for bilateral political, economic and trade discussions at the OR Tambo House, Bryntirion Estates in Pretoria. Vice President Mesa is on a working visit to South Africa which will include paying a courtesy call on President Jacob Zuma and visit Cuban doctors currently working in one of Gauteng's hospitals.

Cuba has become an established strategic partner for South Africa in the Latin American region and in multilateral fora. The past 22 years of diplomatic relations have experienced a robust and constructive interaction at both bilateral and multilateral level. Both countries enjoy strong support from each other in multilateral fora. In this regard South Africa has consistently voted for the lifting of the US-imposed economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba. During President Jacob Zuma's state visit to Cuba, on 6-8 December 2010, the President announced that South Africa would offer Cuba an Economic Assistance Package of R350 million to assist with agricultural development projects as well as reconstruction of infrastructure following the damage by hurricanes in 2008.

Deputy President Ramaphosa undertook a successful working visit to Cuba, hosted by First Deputy President Miguel Diaz-Canel BermA�dez, from 22 � 26 October 2015. Fruitful discussions with various Cuban interlocutors, including with President Raul Castro, underlined the strategic bilateral political and economic relations between the two countries.

To date the two countries have signed over 30 bilateral agreements comprising vast areas of cooperation in education, defence, science and technology, agriculture, health services, infra-structure development, housing, water and sanitation, health cooperation, human settlements technical exchange, water resource management and water supply and public works technical assistance.

Under the auspices of the 2012 Agreement, 2903 South African students, including the 80 students on the scholarship programme, are currently receiving medical training in Cuba. So far, 520 South Africans from disadvantaged backgrounds have graduated as medical doctors, providing much needed primary healthcare services to their local communities. 34 Cuban engineers are currently working in South Africa under the auspices of the SA/Cuba Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of Water Resource Management and Water Supply, signed on 09 September 2013.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa