French President negotiates deals in South Africa

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy is on a two day visit to Cape Town, South Africa’s political capital, where he is expected to sign a raft of energy, science and technology as well as a tourism and transport deal.

The French President’s agenda will 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.

At a joint media briefing with Sarkozy, President Thabo Mbeki announced that French engineers would be arriving in South Africa within the next few days to assist the country with its power crisis, says a panapress report.

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 between the two countries, 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.

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