“Obama is son of Africa” – Zuma

Presidents Obama and Zuma with their wives. Pic: GCIS
Presidents Obama and Zuma with their wives. Pic: GCIS

Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma says US President Barack Obama’s visit to the country will go down in history as a turning point in relations between the United States and South Africa.

“You are no stranger to Africa Mr President. You are a son of the African continent. Your African tour is actually a homecoming,” said Zuma.

Acknowledging that relations between the two countries were “extraordinarily strong”, Zuma said the US and SA now had a duty to take them a step further for mutual benefit.

Speaking on Saturday at the official dinner held in honour of Obama’s visit to the country, Zuma said he anticipated that the exchange of business delegations would soon follow to consolidate the historic visit.

Zuma invited both US public entities and private companies to join South African companies as partners in some bankable projects.

“We appreciate the trade focus of the visit.  We are pleased that our mutual trade is again reaching its pre-recession levels. Our priority is to consolidate and grow this trend,” Zuma told the banquet attend by several minister.

South Africa seeks partnerships that would help deepen industrialisation, create jobs and develop skills by expanding investments in the country, as stipulated in the National Development Plan.

“We envisage investments in areas where the USA can add considerable value. These include infrastructure development, agro-processing, beneficiation of our minerals, information technology and the green economy,” said Zuma.

Earlier on Saturday, Obama and Zuma held a media conference, where they expressed a common goal of expanding trade.

“The stage is now set for a lot of work to be done to further deepen our bilateral relations and also to promote democracy, peace and development in the continent,” added Zuma.

Obama arrived in SA on Friday evening for a three-day visit to the country, which is part of his three-nation tour of Africa. The American President first visited Senegal. His tour is set to conclude in Tanzania. – SAnews.gov.za