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South Africa's Zuma ends Egypt visit
Published in Bikya Masr on 21 - 10 - 2010

CAIRO: South African President Jacob Zuma ended his first state visit by a South African head of state to Egypt on Wednesday after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Zuma had come to Egypt with 6 ministers, three deputy ministers, senior officials and business leaders to meet with Egyptian officials on increasing ties between the two African economic powerhouses.
“The two expressed their satisfaction at the progress that had been made to strengthen the bilateral relations over the past few years and recognized the role of the Joint Bilateral Commission in providing a strategic platform for focusing efforts to bring about closer collaboration on issues of mutual interest, including expanding trade and investments in Africa, reform of the multilateral institutions and peaceful resolution of all conflict and in the Middle East in particular,” a South African government statement said.
The statement said that Zuma and Mubarak looked into means of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and “the attainment of peace and stability within the African continent.”
A successful South Africa/Egypt Business Forum was held on the sidelines of the visit. Egypt has asked support from the South African government to help in their efforts to form a proposed African free trade area.
In terms of the free trade area they would combine the regional trading markets of all five African regions to form a common market economic from Cape to Cairo.
On the issue of establishing a tripartite free trade area becoming a reality, Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) has said this would draw in three of the key trade blocs on the continent the [Southern African Development Community or SADC, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC).
“The economic impact of this free trade agreement could be enormous, creating opportunities for the whole continent. We urge that our two countries facilitate the implementation of the already signed agreements, because implementation of existing trade agreements within the regional blocs is a precondition for effectiveness the tripartite free trade agreement,” said President Futhi Mtoba in a statement.
Busa further agreed it was economically imperative that the continent's two strongest economies cement bilateral trade and investment ties, the statement added.

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