King Charles III welcomes the South African leader for a state visit
LONDON — King Charles III welcomed the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in London on Tuesday for the first state visit of his reign, which will include an official banquet as well as talks with government leaders focused on investment and green energy.
Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, welcomed Ramaphosa at a ceremony at Horse Guards Parade near Buckingham Palace. William and Kate, the Prince and Princess of Wales, were also present.
The visit was organized before the death of Queen Elizabeth II, a nod to his longstanding devotion to the Commonwealth. The last state visit by a South African leader was in 1996, when Nelson Mandela was honored two years after becoming South Africa’s first black president.
Ramaphosa is due to address a joint session of parliament later on Tuesday, followed by discussions with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and other government officials on Wednesday.
On the agenda are opportunities for UK businesses to participate in up to £5.4bn ($6.4bn) of infrastructure projects over three years, the UK Foreign Office has said. . Britain will also provide funds for technical and vocational education in hopes of boosting the development of green technologies and electric car manufacturing in South Africa.
“South Africa is already the UK’s largest trading partner on the continent, and we have ambitious plans to jointly boost infrastructure investment and economic growth,” Sunak said in a statement released ahead of the week. arrival of Ramaphosa.
On Tuesday evening, Charles will preside over his first state banquet as monarch, held in the president’s honor at Buckingham Palace. They will be joined by Camilla and other members of the royal family, including William and Kate.
South African High Commissioner Jeremiah Nymane Mamabolo hailed the significance of the state visit after speaking to the King when Charles visited a South African fashion exhibition a few weeks ago in London.
“The important thing is that the king focused on his first visit to Africa, South Africa and the Commonwealth,” Mamabolo said.