Sarkozy arrives in South Africa

28th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

French Presidentarrived in South African city of Cape Town on Thursday on his first visit to an English-speaking African country since taking office.

   CAPE TOWN, February 28, 2008 - French President Nicholas Sarkozy arrived
in South African city of Cape Town on Thursday on his first visit to an
English-speaking African country since taking office last June.
   Sarkozy was scheduled to kick off his two-day visit in Cape Town, with
talks at 11:00 a.m. (0900 GMT) with South African President Thabo Mbeki and
and later address the parliament.
   He was due to hold a joint press conference with his host, Mbeki, at 12:10
p.m. (10:10 GMT).
   South Africa's energy crisis is expected to feature high on the agenda,
with Mbeki seeking co-operation from his counterpart along with increased
French investment in the transport, energy, automotive and aeronautical
   The chairman of French nuclear giant Areva, Anne Lauvergeon, is
accompanying Sarkozy as the company bids for a contract to build up to 12
power plants in Africa's economic powerhouse, crippled by an electricity
   The plants would be built in partnership with construction conglomerate
Bouygues and French electricity giant EDF, alongside South African engineering
firm Aveng.
   Mbeki and Sarkozy are expected to sign a raft of energy, science and
technology deals, as well as partnerships in tourism and transport security
ahead of South Africa's role as hosts of the 2010 football World Cup.
   On the agenda for talks are security issues on the continent, including the
ongoing conflict in Chad which Sarkozy visited prior to South Africa.
   The two leaders are also expected to discuss reform of the United Nations
and the Bretton Woods international financial institutions.
   France is South Africa's eighth largest trading partner and an important
investor. Bilateral trade reached 25 billion rand (3.3 billion US dollars, 2.2
billion euros) last year.
   The trade balance remains in France's favour, with South Africa exporting
mainly minerals, metals and other commodities while imports from France
included machinery, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
   Officials in the two delegations were to meet in a joint business forum in
Cape Town.
   Sarkozy is accompanied by his new wife, singer and model Carla Bruni.
   After the business forum at Cape Town, the pair will leave for Johannesburg
for a private meeting with former president and anti-apartheid icon
89-year-old Nelson Mandela.


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