Political relations overview
Paris and Pretoria are working to implement the "strategic partnership" agreed during the visit of President Sarkozy to South Africa in February 2008 and strengthened by President Zuma’s visit to France on 2 and 3 March 2011. Our two countries have developed several topical annual meetings on political, military and economic issues (Forum for Political Dialogue, Africa Seminar, Joint Commission on Defence, Defence Strategic Dialogue, Forum Economic Dialogue).
The Forum for political dialogue has provided, since 1999, regular consultations at the level of Director General of the two foreign ministries. The last forum was held in Pretoria on February 3, 2012. Click here for the press release from DIRCO.
The 2nd edition of the Africa Seminar, having been hosted in Pretoria in May 2010, was held in Paris on 18 and 19 May 2011. Co-chaired by the Africa Directors within the foreign ministries of the two countries, the seminar was an opportunity for extensive consultation on key ongoing African issues.
More generally, the Africa Seminar is an innovative exercise emerging from bilateral consultations, involving both institutional and independent researchers intended to foster the shared analysis, further exchanges of experience in the field where our two countries are involved, or even to develop joint action plans. The seminar contributes to a dynamic political dialogue on pertinent African issues. It also draws on the support provided by France to the African Union and the indirect action of France through the European Union.
The economic weight of the EU (highest investor and largest provider of ODA in South Africa) also guides the development of a privileged relationship with South Africa. Since the signing in 1999 of the "Agreement on Trade, Development and Cooperation (TDCA), the EU-South Africa relationship has gained in intensity : South Africa has signed a "strategic partnership" with the EU on May 14, 2007. A first EU-South Africa summit under the French Presidency of the EU Council, was held July 25, 2008 in Bordeaux, in a climate of confidence, to find convergence on various issues (change climate, the role of the private sector and the Zimbabwean crisis). The Summit is held on an annual basis. The next will take place in September 2012 in Brussels.