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South Africa hosts Chilean President, push for south-south ties
August 8, 2014, 2:08 pm

 

South African President Jacob Zuma greets Chilean President Bachelet at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 8 August 2014 [GCIS]

South African President Jacob Zuma greets Chilean President Michelle Bachelet at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 8 August 2014 [GCIS]

South African President Jacob Zuma and his Chilean counterpart Michelle Bachelet on Friday discussed trade, investment, and military co-operation between the two countries even as the two leaders stressed on strengthening south-south cooperation. Bachelet had met Zuma last month alongwith other BRICS leaders for closed-door talks during the 6th BRICS Summit.

On Friday, the two leaders met at the Union Buildings in Pretoria and announced a subsequent visit by Zuma to Chile later this year.

“Chile has expressed interest in South Africa’s master energy plan and we have agreed that dialogue between the relevant ministries should take place to discuss our co-operation,” Zuma said in a statement.

Bachelet, on a state visit to South Africa until Sunday, was welcomed at the Union Buildings on Friday with a military parade and a 21-gun salute.

“We agreed that the Joint Commission on Trade and Investment will meet in Chile before the end of 2014 in order to finalise a short, medium and long term plan of action,” said Zuma.

Bachelet wo has returned for a second presidential term after a hiatus said her South Africa visit was a “perfect moment to set a new pace” in bilateral relations between Pretoria and Santiago.

“We truly believe that South Africa and Chile are like-minded countries. We share a lot of different values,” said Bachelet who leads a centre-left coalition government in Chile.

“We believe that we can also bring resources from both countries to co-operate trilaterally with less developed countries of Africa, joining efforts and funds. We have a fund for fighting hunger and poverty.”

Chile is battling anemic growth even as disappointing Central Bank data earlier this week said the Chilean economy grew at its slowest pace in more than four years in June. Economic activity rose 0.8 per cent in June from the same month a year ago.

South Africa is Chile’s largest trading partner in Africa, according to official data. South Africa was one of the largest foreign investors in the Chilean mining sector. The top exports from South Africa were steel and related products which amounted to 61.6 per cent of total exports to the South American country.

Around 37 per cent of Chilean exports to Africa were destined for South Africa.

While in South Africa, Bachelet will deliver a key-note address at the 12th Nelson Mandela annual lecture in Cape Town.

Chile and other emerging nations are expecting to benefit from the newly announced $100 billion BRICS Bank.

Developing nations have been frustrated at the slow pace of IMF reform aimed at giving them bigger voting rights within the institution.

“We need development banks that act as tools to finance infrastructure works and increase competitiveness, unlike development banks with the extortionist tools of developed nations,” Argentina’s cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich said last month.

 

TBP and Agencies

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