MOSCOW, September 2 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will open a trade mission in South Africa, the Russian foreign minister said Monday after a meeting with his South African counterpart in Moscow.
“I am glad today to pass my counterpart an official note that would formalize an intergovernmental agreement on the opening of a Russian trade mission in Johannesburg as part of Russia’s embassy to South Africa,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists.
South African International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the mission opening would contribute to a further strengthening of bilateral economic ties.
Earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in an interview with RIA Novosti that the talks between Lavrov and Nkoana-Mashabane were supposed to focus on increasing bilateral trade and boosting investment cooperation.
South Africa is one of Russia’s leading foreign trade partners in sub-Saharan Africa. Bilateral trade last year rose 66.3 percent to $964 million.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in March after a meeting with his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, that the two countries planned to keep increasing trade.
“There are interesting projects in aircraft construction. In March this year, a regional service center for Russian-made helicopters was opened in Johannesburg,” Lavrov said. “We also plan with our South African friends to jointly manufacture a light multipurpose helicopter.”
He also said Russia was ready to contribute to the establishment of a nuclear-power sector in South Africa.