Crisis? What crisis? President Jacob Zuma shakes Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s hand after delivering the opening address of the South Africa-Zimbabwe Bi-National Commission in Harare.

Pres. Zuma yesterday arrived in Harare, in the Republic of Zimbabwe to co-chair the inaugural session of the South Africa-Zimbabwe Binational Commission (BNC).

Pres. Zuma and Pres. Robert Mugabe will take the opportunity presented by the BNC to deepen bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries and to further strengthen and develop the potential that exists for closer ties in the fields of trade, investment, mining, water, energy, infrastructure development, transport, and ICT, among others.

The South Africa-Zimbabwe BNC is preceded by a ministerial session held yesterday to consider and adopt the draft Agreed Minutes and Joint Communique negotiated by Senior Officials on 31 October-01 November 2016, as well as the agenda and programme for the Heads of State session.

The two countries have good bilateral political, economic and social relations that are underpinned by strong historical ties dating back from the years of the liberation struggle.

As a result, the two countries decided to elevate their structured bilateral cooperation through an annual BNC, whose agreement was signed in 2015 during President Mugabe’s State Visit to South Africa.

South Africa is one of the top investors in the Zimbabwean economy. The trade balance is positively in South Africa’s favour. In 2015, South African exports to Zimbabwe amounted to approximately R25.6 billion while imports amounted to approximately R4.3 billion, indicating an improvement compared to the preceding year.

At present, a number of South African companies continue to operate in Zimbabwe principally in the mining, manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture, banking and retail sectors. South African companies currently operating in Zimbabwe include Anglo American, Implats (Zimplats), PPC Cement, Old Mutual, ABSA, Stanbic, Tiger Brands, Bell Equipment Ltd and Murray & Roberts, among others.

Pres. Zuma is accompanied by Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation; Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans; Dr Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry; Mr Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Home Affairs; Ms Dipuo Peters, Minister of Transport; and Ms Mildred Oliphant, Minister of Labour.

The BNC meetings are focused on a plethora of bilateral issues including trade, investment, energy, tourism, water and health.

A Press conference was scheduled thereafter followed by a luncheon hosted by president Mugabe.

Pres. Zuma has returned to Pretoria after the state visit.