France and South Africa sign rail and energy deals

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France and South Africa sign rail and energy deals

by AFP Videos 0:52 mins

France and South Africa sign rail and energy deals

by AFP Videos 0:52 mins

SHOTLIST PRETORIA, 14 OCTOBER 2013, SOURCE: AFPTV SOUNDBITE 1 François Hollande (man), French President (French, 20 sec) "I realize that South Africa is a country that is emerging economically and rightfully claiming a role in the group of nations. France is available to be one of its key partners." SOUNDBITE 2 François Hollande (man), French President (French, 28 sec) "First, with regards to transport, Alstom will finalise a deal with Prasa - which is the equivalent of the French railway company - a contract of more than four billion euros. This is the largest contract that has been signed in recent months, or even years." - Wide, press conference - CU French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius - CU French Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll - French and South African presidents at podiums /// ---------------------------------------------------------- AFP TEXT STORY: SAfrica-France-diplomacy-contract S.Africa, France sign energy accord, finalise rail deal PRETORIA, Oct 14, 2013 (AFP) - French President Francois Hollande announced on Monday the signing with South Africa of a $2-billion pact for a thermal power plant in Africa's largest economy which suffers from energy shortages. Hollande, on a two-day state visit to Pretoria Hollande, told a joint news conference with President Jacob Zuma that an agreement had been penned between French energy firm "GDF Suez and South Africa for a thermal power plant to the tune of 1.5 billion euros, and also for a solar plant." He did not give details about the energy deal. But rolling power cuts in 2008 forced South Africa to rethink its power generation strategies, as supply remains under pressure owing to growing demand. The continent's wealthiest economy, has now embarked on a multi-billion-dollar building spree to set up new power plants that would double electricity supplies over the next two decades. Heavily reliant for decades on coal, it is now mulling other energy sources including nuclear power and shale gas. It plans to add more than 50,000 megawatts of electricity to the grid and hope to generate at least 3,725 megawatts in green energy, in its bid to lower the over-reliance on coal. Hollande also announced the conclusion of a $5.4-billion deal by Alstom to overhaul South Africa's passenger rail service, PRASA. Under the deal, which was first announced in December last year, Alstom would build 600 trains and 3,600 wagons over a 10-year period from 2015 to 2025. The deal, which Hollande described as "the largest in recent years" and an example of an "excellent partnership" between the two countries, would create several thousand jobs. Part of agreement is that most of the parts used in the work will originate in South Africa. It is the first phase of a much bigger, $14-billion project to revamp South Africa's Metrorail system, including the building of 7,224 commuter trains for Gauteng province -- including Johannesburg and Pretoria -- Durban, the Western Cape and Eastern Cape. About 90 percent of the current rolling stock is said to date back to the late 1950s. Hollande arrived in South Africa on Monday for a two-day state visit in which he is set to push for greater cooperation in trade links and on African crises with the continental powerhouse. Hollande oversees a French socialist-led government which has set as priorities the boosting of the competitive position and exports of French industry, reducing a chronic trade deficit and high unemployment. swi-sn/hd

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