President Cyril Ramaphosa has a busy day scheduled for Friday 28 May, with France President Emmanuel Macron expected to pop in to the Union Buildings in Pretoria for what will constitute his first ever State Visit to South Africa. 

The two Heads of State have several engagements on the books over the course of the day, with a visit to the Vaccine Production Support Initiative for Africa at the University of Pretoria scheduled between discussions surrounding trade and investment, climate change, as well as “multilateral and global issues of mutual concern”. 

Ramaphosa and Macron to discuss troubled UN Security Council  

In a statement released on Thursday evening, the Presidency said that  the visit aims to “deepen bilateral cooperation within the framework of the Strategic Partnership between South Africa and France and within the framework of existing bilateral agreements”, with reform within the United Nations Security Council set to feature high up on the agenda. 

“The leaders will also discuss the establishment of a predictable framework of cooperation between Africa and the United Nations and its agencies on ensuring peace and security on the African continent,” the Presidency said. 

A ministerial delegation from South Africa will also participate when Macron and Ramaphosa reunite on Friday, less than a week since meeting at the 74th World Health Assembly. The delegation includes International Relations and Cooperation Minister  Naledi Pandor,  Health Minister Zweli Mkhize,  Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, Trade, Industry and Competition MInister Ebrahim Patel, and Acting Minister in the Presidency Ms Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.

France remains major development partner to SA 

With South Africa and France currently representing each others largest and second largest trading partners from their respective continents,  Ramaphosa and Macron have plenty to discuss. 

France remains one of SA’s major investors and is a key development partner., with the European nation having pledged R20 billion worth of investment into the country during the 2019 South Africa Investment Conference.

The Presidency said that the leaders will deliberate on climate change and peace and security on the African Continent and that the visit will focus on issues pertaining to the global response to COVID-19 and the “economic, health, research and manufacturing responses to the current pandemic and beyond”.

The leaders are expected to discuss post-COVID-19 recovery, including further discussions under the ACT Accelerator, a temporary World Trade Organisation intellectual property waiver and the future manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines in South Africa and the rest of the continent.

“Following the programme at the Union Buildings, the leasers will proceed to the University of Pretoria where they will lead a High-Level Seminar on manufacturing vaccines in Africa,” said the statement. 

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Presh JM Reporter

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