French Minister of State Matthias Fekl visits South Africa [fr]
On April 7 2015, Minister of State in charge of foreign trade, the promotion of tourism and French nationals abroad, Matthias Fekl, visited Cape Town.
Minister Fekl’s visit to South Africa is part of the follow-up of the visit of French President François Hollande in October 2013 and in preparation of South African President Jacob Zuma’s visit to France.
During the visit, Minister Fekl met with South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies at the occasion of the Joint Economic Committee held on the April 7 at Parliament in Cape Town where, after a dialogue between Senior officials of the countries on the bilateral trade and investment relationship, French and South African companies shared their commitment and paid tribute to their partnerships, regarding notably different sectors, including engineering and industrial subcontracting, energy and green energy, transport and agribusiness.
The Joint Economic Committee, established in 1995 and revived in 2013, is the right place to strengthen trade and industrial cooperation between France and South Africa. This was the first meeting since the committee’s revival.
France is the fourth European supplier to South Africa, with total trade between the two countries reached R33 billion last year - up from R23.6 billion in 2009.
South Africa exports vehicles, machinery, turbo-jets and aircraft parts to France and France is well-known for pharmaceutical and chemical exports to South Africa.
More than 300 French companies, employing close to 30 000 people, are based in South Africa. More than 30 000 employment opportunities will be created through Alstom’s contract with the Passenger Rail Agency of SA.
Following Minister Fekl’s return to France on the evening of April 7, his delegation, accompanied by French Ambassador to South Africa Elisabeth Barbier, visited Pretoria and Johannesburg (on April 8) where they met representatives of the South African government as well as representatives of South African enterprises, especially at the occasion of a Business to Business Forum organized by the French South African Chamber of Commerce (FSACCI), with the attendance of about 100 companies representing different sectors of activity (energy, transportation, tourism, health, smart cities, agribusiness etc.)
Thereafter, a cocktail function was hosted in honour of French business representatives, South African business owners and government officials, and Minister Fekl’s delegation.
The Minister’s delegation also visited Schneider Electric’s new factory in Midrand where they met the company’s Country President Eric Leger.
The group used the Gautrain from Midrand to travel to OR Tambo International Airport, from where they returned to France.