Pretoria - President Cyril Ramaphosa will undertake a state visit to Tanzania on August 14 and 15 at the invitation of President John Pombe Magufuli, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said on Sunday.
South Africa and Tanzania enjoyed strong fraternal, historical, and excellent political, economic, and social relations which were cemented during the period of the liberation struggle, she told journalists at a media briefing in Pretoria.
South Africa established formal diplomatic relations with Tanzania in 1994. Since then, there had been high-level interactions between the two countries aimed at consolidating and strengthening political, economic, and social relations, resulting in the signing of 16 sectoral agreements between the two countries.
Ramaphosa's state visit would further deepen the existing economic, political, cultural, and social relations between the two countries, Pandor said.
In 2018, South African exports to Tanzania amounted to R5.8 billion, whereas imports from Tanzania amounted to R479 million. South African exports to Tanzania were predominantly in the areas of manufacturing - machinery, mechanical appliances, paper, rubber products, vehicles, iron, and steel, including services and technology.
On the other hand, imports from Tanzania were mainly gold, coffee, cashew nuts, and cotton. There were over 170 South African companies operating in Tanzania, across all sectors of the economy.
"The state visit will allow both leaders to discuss bilateral, continental, and global issues, and to reaffirm their commitment to further cooperate closely on multilateral issues. A business forum is being arranged by ministries of trade and industry of both countries and participants will be addressed by both presidents," Pandor said.
Following the state visit, Ramaphosa would lead a South African delegation to the 39th ordinary summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state and government, also to take place in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania on August 17 and 18.
The summit would take place under the theme "A conducive business environment for inclusive and sustainable industrial development". The theme was in line with previous SADC summit decisions that endorsed industrialisation as the overarching priority for the region based on the SADC industrialisation strategy and roadmap, she said.
Apart from considering the progress on the implementation of the SADC industrialisation strategy and roadmap, the summit was expected to consider the protocol on industry and the regional mining vision. These documents were a demonstration of the region's desire to cooperate on industrial development to support regional integration.
"SADC remains a key component of South African foreign policy which aims to promote economic integration among its member states and to achieve sustainable development, allowing the region to address the key challenges of unemployment and poverty alleviation.
"Regional integration plays an important role, both politically and economically in terms of reducing the risk of regional conflicts. It further relates to pooling resources and markets for achieving economies of scale," Pandor said.