President Zuma arrives in Zimbabwe

Pretoria - South African President Jacob Zuma has arrived in Harare to co-chair the inaugural session of the South Africa-Zimbabwe Bi-National Commission (BNC).

President Zuma and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will take the opportunity presented by the BNC to deepen bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries and to further strengthen and develop the potential that exists for closer ties in the fields of trade, investment, mining, water, energy, infrastructure development, transport, and ICT, among others.

The BNC was preceded by a ministerial session that was co-chaired by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on Wednesday. The ministerial session was held to consider and adopt the draft agreed minutes and joint communique negotiated by senior officials on 31 October to 1 November 2016, as well as the agenda and programme for the Heads of State session.

The two countries have good bilateral political, economic and social relations that are underpinned by strong historical ties dating back from the years of the liberation struggle.

As a result, the two countries decided to elevate their structured bilateral cooperation through an annual BNC, whose agreement was signed in 2015 during President Mugabe's State visit to South Africa.

South Africa is one of the top investors in the Zimbabwean economy. The trade balance is positively in South Africa's favour. In 2015, South African exports to Zimbabwe amounted to approximately R25.6 billion, while imports amounted to approximately R4.3 billion, indicating an improvement compared to the preceding year.

At present, a number of South African companies continue to operate in Zimbabwe principally in the mining, manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, banking and retail sectors. South African companies operating in Zimbabwe include Anglo American, Implats (Zimplats), PPC Cement, Old Mutual, ABSA, Stanbic, Tiger Brands, Bell Equipment Ltd and Murray and Roberts, among others.

President Jacob Zuma is accompanied by Minister Nkoana-Mashabane; Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula; Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies; Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba; Transport Minister Dipuo Peters; and Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant.

Source: South African Government News Agency