14 July 2004
President Thabo Mbeki met his his counterpart from Burkina Faso, President Blaise Compaore, this week in the first such high-level contact between the two countries.
After meeting Compaore and his delegation in Pretoria on Tuesday, President Thabo Mbeki said South Africa was eager to help Burkina Faso exploit its mineral resources.
The two countries signed an agreement on a framework for cooperation in this regard, as well as an agreement to strengthen diplomatic relations by establishing embassies in each country.
“Burkina Faso has large mineral deposits, and we are keen to work with them to attract investment into this sector”, Mbeki said. “We are keen to promote and move this co-operation between our two countries not as a theoretical thing, but to be as practical as possible.”
Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore visited Randgold Resources in Johannesburg on Wednesday in a bid to attract investment from the South African mining giant.
Though Burkina Faso has limited exploitable resources, opportunities exist for South Africa’s mining companies to mine gold, zinc and manganese in that country.
South African company Metorex established a joint venture with Billiton Burkina Faso in 1999 to develop a zinc-mining operation in Perkoa in central Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso is South Africa’s 11th largest trade partner in the west African region. SA’s total trade with Burkina Faso amounted to R35-million in 2003.
The visiting Burkina Faso delegation included the minister of foreign affairs and regional co-operation, Yussouf Ouedraogo, and the minister of mines and power, Kadre Cisee.
They were met by a South African delegation comprising Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minerals and Energy Minister Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana.