South African President Jacob Zuma
makes his first official state visit Wednesday when he travels to neighboring
two countries have strong historical ties and are now linked by trade and investment. Angola is Africa's largest oil producer.
Zuma is expected to be accompanied by 11 cabinet ministers in what is described
as the largest South African business delegation to Angola since 1994.
expert Mohamed El-Khawas, professor of history and political science at the
University of the District of Columbia, in Washington, DC, says, "The two
countries really have had a great deal of interest in working together, but
also they have shared the history of the struggle – the fight to end racism in
South Africa and to try to get independence in Angola," he says.
Rising star of Africa
calls Angola a "rising star" of great interest to South Africa, adding that
South Africa has keen interest in its oil reserves.
South Africa can try to get preferential treatment from Angola, which will
ensure a steady supply of oil, but also at the more favorable price, that will
be good for the South African economy," he says.
reason…is that Angola has a good relationship with China. South Africa also… but not to the same
extent. So my feeling really is that
Zuma ideologically is inclined to be getting along well with Angola…. And there
is a need for the two countries to try to solidify their relationship," he
Good for Angola, too
"I also believe that Angola can…benefit
from the South African experience in democratization. South Africa is really a model not only for
southern Africa, but for the whole continent," he says.
Angola has held legislative elections since the end of its 27-year-long civil
war, it has not held a presidential election for about two decades.
presidential election that has been scheduled for this year – the president
(Jose Eduardo Dos Santos) has not decided yet whether he's going to have it
this year or next year or when," he says.
El-Khawas says Angola's political process should be more open to allow
opposition parties, like the former rebel group UNITA, greater opportunity to
was one of the countries in southern Africa that (Secretary of State) Hillary
Clinton decided to visit. And even when
she was there she never really tried to stress democratic reform or
presidential elections, but she said the relationship is improving now," he
is rebuilding its infrastructure, which was destroyed during the civil
war. Many people were killed or
displaced. The country is still in the
process of clearing the many thousands of landmines that were laid during the
is trying, but I also believe that corruption at the highest level in the
government is…wasting a lot of money that could have been used in development
and reconstruction," he says.
South African President Zuma will
spend two days in Angola.