French President Nicolas Sarkozy is on a two day visit to Cape Town, South Africa’s political capital, where he is expected to address the nation’s parliament after a meeting with Thabo Mbeki, the South African President.
The French President’s agenda is likely to focus on a close co-operation in the energy sector. Anne Lauvergon, chairman of the French nuclear group, Areva, is among Sarkozy’s delegation in a bid for a contract targetting the construction of 12 power plants in the country. France enjoys highly favourable bilateral trade agreements with South Africa. Imports from France already include machinery, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
South Africa has been faced with an energy crises that has crippled its mining sector, for over a month now as ESKOM – South Africa’s electricity company – struggles to ration electricity supply. This situation has affected neighbouring countries importing their energy supplies from South Africa..
Bilateral trade relations, reached US$3.3 billion last year. Among other expected deals are; Transport, Energy, Science and Technology, Aeronautics, as well as Tourism and transport ahead of the 2010 world cup to be held in South Africa.
In other developments, President Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed that France will renegotiate its defence deals with African countries. Mr Sarkozy who has previously said that the comfortable relationship between some France and some African countries should end said that this renegotiation would be a “major turning point”.
Military deals with African countries include; Chad, The Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Central African republic and Senegal.