Cape Town, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 18 February 2011 – President Jacob Zuma of South Africa is to sign a €1billion agreement with the French Development Agency during a state visit to France next month, and it is understood that the deal could also touch on a pricey nuclear project.
The visit on March 2 and 3 at the invitation of President Nicolas Sarkozy, aims at deepening economic relations with the incoming leader of the Group of 20 (G20) group of nations. This comes as wide differences between rich and poor countries could frustrate France’s hope of helping stabilise the global economy.
“There are several agreements that will be signed during this visit, and among them would be the new partnership framework document for 2011 to 2013,” minister of international relations and cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told reporters here.
France has emerged as one of several countries, including South Korea, whose companies have been courting South Africa as it shops for multi-billion dollar nuclear power plants that could help avoid a power crunch in the country.
French nuclear company Areva signed an agreement to boost nuclear skills development in South Africa during Sarkozy’s 2008 state visit.
In 2007 Areva submitted a proposal to power utility Eskom to build several nuclear plants in a tender process which was later scrapped due to its steep cost.