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Date: 06 May 2012
Title: Motlanthe to visit Germany, Finland
Pretoria - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is to undertake working visits to Germany and Finland next week to advance political relations with the two countries.
Motlanthe will be in Germany from 8 to 9 May where he will attend the 7th South Africa-Germany Bi-National Commission (BNC). He will be accompanied by Cabinet ministers and senior officials whose departments are part of the BNC.
The South Africa-Germany BNC is a structured dialogue established in 1996 to coordinate bilateral relations between the two countries.
The 6th session of the commission took place in South Africa in April 2010 and was co-chaired by Motlanthe and the then German Vice-Chancellor, Guido Westerwelle.
The BNC is expected to discuss the further deepening of bilateral relations between South Africa and Germany, current issues facing both the African continent and the Eurozone, and trilateral cooperation between the two countries in the continent in the context of the African Union's Post Conflict and Reconstruction Development (PCRD) programme.
In order to boost the trade and commercial relations between the two countries, Motlanthe accompanied by Cabinet ministers will interact with prominent South African and German companies during the South Africa-Germany Business Seminar, scheduled to be held in Munich.
Germany is ranked the 4th largest export destination for South Africa and a major source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Over 450 German companies have invested in South Africa in such critical sectors as the automotive and chemical industries, as well as mechanical and electrical engineering.
Similarly, South Africa remains a popular destination for German tourists, with more than 230 000 tourists from Germany visited South Africa in 2011, representing a growth of 9.3 percent from the previous year. Germany is South Africa's second largest source of tourists after the UK outside the African continent.
From 9 to 10 May, Motlanthe, accompanied by Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor and Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ebrahim Ebrahim, will undertake an official visit to Finland at the invitation of Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen.
The objective of the Deputy President's visit to Finland is to reinvigorate the political and economic relations between the two countries in order to advance South Africa's national priorities, enhance the African Agenda and exchange views on multilateral issues of common interest.
During his visit, Motlanthe will hold courtesy meetings respectively with the Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomoija. - BuaNews