France's President Emmanuel Macron (L) welcomes South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa upon his arrival for a dinner at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris, on May 17, 2021, following an international conference on Sudan which aims to provide financing breathing room for its Prime Minister as he pursues economic reforms. - The French government promised to lend $1.5 billion to Sudan to help it pay off its massive foreign debt, kicking off an international summit aimed at helping the aspiring democracy emerge from decades of authoritarian rule. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)
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South African President Ramaphosa To Host French Counterpart Macron

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa will host his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Friday, the South African presidency said in a statement.

The state visit, Macron’s first to South Africa since being elected president of France, is at the invitation of Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa and Macron are expected to discuss strengthening bilateral cooperation, issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recovery and peace and security issues on the continent.

Also up for discussion are climate change and trade and investment issues, including technical skills training in South Africa with cooperation of 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).

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“France is a major investor in South Africa and a significant development partner. During the 2019 South Africa Investment Conference, French companies pledged R20 billion of investment into the country,” the statement noted.

The two are also scheduled to visit to the Vaccine Production Support Initiative for Africa at the University of Pretoria.

At the university, Ramaphosa and Macron, in conversation with scientists and industry leaders, will discuss a raft of COVID-19-related questions including the kind of support needed to develop the Africa’s capacity to manufacture vaccines.

“South Africa will articulate its campaign, shared with India, for international support and solidarity that will enhance access to vaccines and enable domestic production of life-saving pharmaceutical products,” the statement said.

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