India’s PM visit SA to drum up business
Modi is on a four-nation African trip, starting his journey in neighbouring Mozambique.
The Indian Prime Minister arrived in South Africa on Thursday evening, where he was welcomed at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria by senior South African government officials, including International Relations Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
The visit will also serve to further strengthen the excellent people-to-people contact that exists between the two countries
On this visit, South Africa and India – both members of the BRICS bloc with Brazil, Russia, and China – will look to strengthen economic, political, and social ties, with a focus on trade between the two nations.
Zuma and Modi are also scheduled to address a South Africa-India Business Forum meeting on Friday and discuss closer tires between the two nations.
According to government numbers, India is South Africa’s largest trade partner, with trade in 2015 being at almost R95 billion. Trade with India represented 4.9 per cent of SA imports and 4.1 per cent exports.
South Africa’s trade statistics also show that India’s exports to South Africa increased from R29 billion in 2011 to R54 billion in 2015, while South Africa’s exports to India increased from R24 billion in 2011 to R41 billion.
While the trade surplus is in favour of India, efforts are underway to promote South African exports of value added products. Modi is also expected to undertake engagements in Gauteng and in KwaZulu-Natal.
In a statement, the Presidency said India and South Africa have enjoyed, “a deep and shared history of friendship and solidarity”. India was South Africa’s ally during efforts to end white minority rule and was at the forefront of helping to isolate the apartheid government.
With the transition to democracy under way, South Africa and India established full diplomatic relations in 1993.
“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,” Presidency spokesperson, Bongani Ngqulunga, said.
“The visit will also serve to further strengthen the excellent people-to-people contact that exists between the two countries.” Modi is also expected to visit Tanzania and Kenya during his continental tour.
Indian officials told the Indian Express that “Africa is a continent with which we have had centuries old relationships, not only politically, but in the areas of culture and in areas of people, people to people contacts and since the beginning of its independence, has fought against apartheid and against colonialism and has the potential to have greater economic relations with Africa”.