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South Africa gears up for Obama visit
June 26, 2013, 7:15 am

[Getty Images]

US Trade Representative Mike Froman says that trade and investment will be a major focus of Obama’s visit [Getty Images]

US President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to South Africa will strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana- Mashabane said on Tuesday.

“The Obama Administration has expressed interest to partner with South Africa domestically and regionally,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.

President Obama will visit South Africa on an official visit on June 28-30, the second leg of his three-nation African tour, which also includes Senegal and Tanzania.

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday passed a bill intended to boost trade with Africa, ahead of Obama’s trip.

The US Strategy Towards sub-Saharan Africa, which was announced in June 2012 by Obama, acknowledges that Africa is more important than ever to the security and prosperity of the international community – and to the US in particular.

Mashabane also pointed out that South Africa’s rise has made it the biggest export market in Africa for the US.

“It is also important to note that while the US is a significant partner for South Africa, we are also the US’s biggest market in Africa accounting for 7.3 billion dollars of American exports,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.

In 2012, the US Export-Import Bank signed an agreement with the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa to fund up to $2 billion in US technologies and products to South Africa’s clean energy sector.

South Africa’s total trade with the US was in excess of 130 billion rands ($12.7 billion) in 2011.

US Trade Representative Mike Froman said on Tuesday that trade and investment will be a major focus of Obama’s visit.

“Much of what the president will be doing on this trip – from meeting with jurists about the rule of law and governance to conferring with leaders about some of Africa’s key security challenges – is tied back to trade and investment as key drivers of Africa’s economic growth story,” Froman said in a speech.

With inputs from Agencies