Iceland’s Foreign Minister Valgerdur Sverrisdóttir ended her official visit to Africa yesterday. On the last day of her visit she had an unscheduled meeting with the President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki.
According to Morgunbladid, the president requested a special meeting with Sverrisdóttir.
She met the Foreign Minister of South Africa, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, on Tuesday, after which South Africa announced it would support Iceland’s application for a seat at the UN Security Council.
“The meeting with President Mbeki was especially memorable,” Sverrisdóttir said. “We discussed the situation of Africa and its image in Europe and the fact that the continent generally has a very dark image.” Fréttabladid reports.
“There are certainly many problems [in Africa], but also many opportunities and an upswing and progress in many fields,” Sverrisdóttir said and added the economy in South Africa is growing. “There are business opportunities here without a doubt.”
Morgunbladid reports Sverrisdóttir and Mbeki discussed the possibility of harnessing geothermal energy in South Africa and for South Africa to have access to Icelandic knowledge on geothermal energy.
South Africa is also interested in cooperation in the field of fishing industry and tourism, Sverrisdóttir explained. During her visit the she also had talks with authorities in Uganda.
According to Fréttabladid, Sverrisdóttir said her experience of Africa was different from what she had expected. She added she would have positive memories from her visit, especially because she had been warmly welcomed by the people in Africa.