South Africa, a member of G20 and the largest economy in Africa cancelled approximately $137 million in debt owed by Cuba and granted $30 million in new credits to Cuba. This development took place in Caribbean Island communist controlled nation as South African president Jacob Zuma was on his official 3-day visit.
Cuba a trading partner to South Africa was being slowed down by command economy, recession and lack of trade, therefore the revival of trade becomes imperative to the visiting African president. President Zuma came to Cuba with some 50 representatives from different businesses of South Africa with interest to do business with Cuba.
“Trade between the two countries has been practically nonexistent for years because of the debt issue, while South Africa does pay an unknown amount for Cuban doctors working in the country and has a joint project to produce vaccines. Cuba last reported its foreign debt as $17.8 billion in 2007 and is currently going through a financial crisis that has left it hard pressed to obtain credits and meet obligations. “
South African trade ministry official Pumla Ncapayi said that his country hoped to export agricultural machinery to Cuba inorder to help President Raul Castro’s program of improving agriculture and reduction of food importation to Cuba.
“South African mining companies have expressed interest in Cuban nickel and other minerals in the past, but no major investments have materialized. More recently, a South African group of investors has financed hotel construction in Cuba. Meanwhile, Cuba has provided health services, as well as personnel and logistics for workforce housing construction and construction of facilities in the run-up of the 2010 soccer World Cup. Also, South Africa is funding some of the healthcare programs Cuba is providing to third nations in Africa. Cuba and South Africa maintain cooperation agreements in health, labor relations, social security and information and communications technology.”
South African Black liberation struggle was supported by Fidel Castro’s Cuba. And South Africa at the end of Apartheid has blossom into a full capitalistic economy and has become an emerging industrial giant. While the Island nation of Cuba has refused to embrace free enterprise and democracy which can revive its fragile economy.