South African President Cyril Ramaphosa arrived in London on Tuesday begining his State Visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
He becomes the first Head of State to be hosted for a State Visit by His Majesty King Charles III.
President Ramaphosa was welcomed by His Majesty King Charles III to Horse Guards parade and took golden carriage ride to Buckingham Palace. This evening Ramaphosa will join members of the Royal Family for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.
Upon reaching the Palace, they were met by a second Guard of Honour found by 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, while at the Tower of London, a 62-round gun salute was fired by the Honourable Artillery Company regiment to mark the President’s visit.
According to palace sources, Climate change, trade and Charles’s vision for the Commonwealth are expected to be on the agenda at the meeting.
South Africa is the UK’s biggest trading partner on the continent with trade between both countries worth £10.7billion annually.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak today announced the UK and South Africa will join forces to ‘turbocharge infrastructure investment and economic growth together’.
The next phase of the UK-South Africa Infrastructure Partnership is being launched today, supporting South Africa’s economic growth through major infrastructure developments and offering increased access to UK companies to projects worth up to £5.37 billion over the next three years, said Downing Street.
Sunak said: ‘South Africa is already the UK’s biggest trading partner on the continent, and we have ambitious plans to turbocharge infrastructure investment and economic growth together.
‘I look forward to welcoming President Ramaphosa to London this week to discuss how we can deepen the partnership between our two great nations and capitalise on shared opportunities, from trade and tourism and security and defence.’
The two-day state visit will see a series of firsts for the royal family who will take part in events over the coming two days as they host their guest Mr Ramaphosa.
South Africa’s High Commissioner, Jeremiah Nyamane Mamabolo, hailed the importance of the state visit after speaking to the King a few weeks ago when Charles visited an exhibition of South African fashion in London.
Mamabolo, who is expected to be among the state banquet guests, said: ‘The important thing is that the King has focused for his first visit, to be with Africa, South Africa, and the Commonwealth.’