1 September 2011
For South Africa to reach its full potential, economic freedom was needed to complement political freedom, President Jacob Zuma said during a gala dinner at the Royal Palace in Oslo, Norway on Wednesday.
“We look forward to increasing trade between our two countries as part of efforts to boost job creation,” Zuma said. “We will use this visit to strengthen cooperation in our national priorities, especially in addressing poverty, inequality and unemployment.”
Norway’s King Harald V paid a state visit to South Africa in 2009, and Zuma’s two-day reciprocal visit this week is intended to further strengthen relations between the two countries.
In 2009, Norway and South Africa recommitted themselves to advancing political, cultural and socio-economic relations. Zuma said South Africa looked forward to strengthening this partnership.
A South African business delegation is also accompanying Zuma. “They are here to further explore opportunities in this country, which will assist us to further boost our economic ties and jobs,” said Zuma.
Trade between South Africa and Norway has steadily increased in value, from R746-million in 2005 to R3.18-billion last year.
Zuma added that South Africa looked forward to welcoming the Norwegian delegation at the COP 17 climate change deliberations in Durban in November and December. “Preparations are on track and we look forward to a successful engagement in Durban.”
The President also convey South Africa’s condolences following the bomb blast in Oslo and related shooting incident on Utoya Island in July.
“Allow me to reiterate, on behalf of my government and the people of South Africa, our deepest condolences to the government and the people of Norway, and especially to the families who lost their loved ones, both in Oslo and on Utoya Island.
“That horrible tragedy shocked and outraged the whole world. Such barbaric acts have no place in modern society. We wish Norway well in her process of healing.”
Zuma is being accompanied on his visit by International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk.