Mbeki calls for more EU aid

South African President Thabo Mbeki and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday exchanged promises to further strengthen the two countries’ traditional close ties. Mbeki, on the second day of an official visit to Athens, said Greece can help encourage other EU countries to help with Africa’s development. «Greece is an important voice for the African people within the European Union,» he said. Karamanlis, on his part, said Greece is pressing for greater EU aid towards Africa’s development and, as a current member of the United Nations Security Council, will support and promote South Africa’s peace initiatives on the continent. He added that Greece «has added South Africa to its list of countries with priority for development cooperation.» South Africa and Greece have signed several bilateral agreements in recent years, including on tourism, investment protection, double taxation and shipping. In 2003, South Africa’s imports from Greece were valued at 13 million euros, while exports to Greece amounted to 56 million euros. Between 1999 and 2002, Greece was the 12th-largest foreign investor in South Africa with investments – largely in the financial sector, shipping and food products – valued at 207 million euros. Mbeki also talked to Greek businessmen, and made a pitch for more investments, at the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Earlier, he had met with European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, Bank of Greece Governor Nicholas Garganas and Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis. On Thursday, after meeting with President Costis Stephanopoulos, opposition leaders and Parliament Speaker Anna Psarouda-Benaki, Mbeki made a speech on the challenges posed by war, poverty and underdevelopment in an event held by the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP). Mbeki is accompanied by South Africa’s ministers of Foreign Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma, Public Enterprises, Alexander Erwin, and Trade and Industry, Mandisi Bongani Maputo Mpahlwa. He is due to leave Greece today. (Kathimerini/AP)

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.