The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: President Off to ASA Summit

Malabo — President Mugabe left the country yesterday for Malabo, Equatorial Guinea to join other leaders attending the 3rd Summit of Africa and South America.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is accompanied by the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe and senior Government officials.

Vice President Joice Mujuru is the acting President.

President Mugabe was seen off at the Harare International Airport by State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Transport, Communications and Infrastructure Development Minister Nicholas Goche and service chiefs.

The 3rd ASA Summit seeks to enhance South-South Co-operation and would be held under the theme: "Strategies and Mechanisms for Strengthening South-South Co-operation."

Discussions at the summit would focus on relations between South America and the African countries with a view to strengthen political and economic ties between the two regions.

The summit would also consider the Africa-South America Implementation Plan 2010-2015 as well as proposed key priority projects including the ASA Institutions (Strategic Presidential Committee and Permanent Secretariat), the financing of ASA projects, programmes and the permanent secretariat.

The official opening, set for tomorrow, would feature presentations by host President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, chairman of the African Union who is also the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.

The summit would, among other issues, present a platform for businesspeople from member countries to discuss business opportunities and areas of co-operation.

The Heads of State Summit was preceded by a meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers that began on Wednesday.

African Union Commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma also attended the meeting together with the secretary general of the Union of South American Nations, Ali Rodriguez Araque.

Foreign Affairs Ministers yesterday attended meetings on Infrastructure, Energy and Transportation that were chaired by Brazil and Nigeria.

Another meeting on Business, Trade, and Investment in South America and Africa was also held and was chaired by Venezuela, while a meeting on South-South Co-operation was chaired by Morocco.

Other leaders that have confirmed their attendance included President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Evo Morales of Bolivia.

The 3rd ASA Summit was supposed to be held in May last year, but the host country Equatorial Guinea postponed the event in order to finalise its preparatory work.

ASA brings together 12 countries that are part of the Union of South American Nations and 54 African states.

The first Summit of Africa and South America was held in Abuja, Nigeria in 2006, while the Margarita Islands of Venezuela were the hosts in 2009.

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