TRAVEL GAZETTE – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to South Africa is expected to further bolster cooperation on economic, political, social and international areas between the two countries, the Presidency has said.
Modi will start his two-day visit on Friday as part of considerable interaction between South Africa and India in the multilateral context, which includes regular meetings on IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa), BRICS (Brazil, Ruassia, India, China and South Africa), and India-Africa Forum Summit.
In particular, South Africa is keen to strengthen trade between the two countries, the Presidency said.
To date, India is South Africa’s largest trade partner with trade in 2015 being at almost 95 billion rand (about 6.6 billion U.S. dollars). Trade with India represented 4.9 percent of SA imports and 4.1 percent of exports last year.
While the trade surplus is in favour of India, efforts are underway to promote South African exports of especially value added products, presidential spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said.
South African president Jacob Zuma and Modi will hold official talks at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Friday and the two Leaders will later address a meeting of the South Africa-India Business Forum.
Modi will also undertake engagements in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces as part of his visit.
A number of bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding (MOUs) are currently under consideration, some of which will be concluded during the visit of Modi and while others will be finalized in the next few months.
The areas of cooperation covered by the instruments include tourism, information communication technology, sport, culture, grassroots innovation, renewable energy, and visa simplification procedures, according to Ngqulunga.
On international cooperation, South Africa wants to see a meaningful reform of the global governance system to make the system more responsive to the needs of the developing world especially Africa and this matter will feature in the discussions, he said.
The visit will also serve to further strengthen the excellent people-to-people contact that exists between the two countries, Ngqulunga added.