French President Emmanuel Macron will on Friday undertake his first State Visit to South Africa, at the invitation of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Ramaphosa will host President Macron for the State Visit at the Union Buildings. The two Heads of State will also pay a visit to the Vaccine Production Support Initiative for Africa at the University of Pretoria.
“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,” the Presidency said.
The engagement also aims to deepen understanding regarding multilateral and global issues of mutual concern, such as the need for reform of the United Nations Security Council.
The leaders are also expected to 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 Presidents will also talk about trade and investment, including technical skills training in South Africa in collaboration with the private sector.
South Africa is France’s largest trading partner in Africa, while France is South Africa’s second-largest trading partner in the European Union (EU).
France is a major investor in South Africa and a significant development partner, according to the Presidency. French companies pledged R20 billion of investment into the country during the 2019 South Africa Investment Conference.
“The leaders will deliberate on climate change and peace and security on the African continent,” the Presidency said.
Meanwhile, the Heads of State will also focus on issues about the global response to COVID-19 and the economic, health, and 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 Access to COVID-19 Tools (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 leaders will proceed to the University of Pretoria where they will lead a High-Level Seminar on manufacturing vaccines in Africa.
The event will take the form of a hybrid media conference and a High-Level dialogue between Presidents Ramaphosa and Macron, in conversation with scientists and industry leaders.
“This session will address questions such as what the experience has been in managing COVID-19 and what needs to be done to strengthen the public health system and in addressing the pandemics in Africa,” said the President’s office.
Delegates will also look at what kind of support is needed to develop the capacity of the African continent to manufacture vaccines in the short and long term.
South Africa plans to articulate its campaign, shared with India, for international support and solidarity that will enhance access to vaccines and enable the domestic production of life-saving pharmaceutical products.
The South African ministerial delegation includes International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, Higher Education Science and Technology Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel, and Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.