DAR-ES-SALAAM, South Africa and Tanzania are set to elevate their political and economic relations to a higher level when South African President Jacob Zuma and his Tanzanian counterpart, President John Magufuli, meet here Thursday.

President Zuma arrived here Wednesday evening for a two-day State visit. The two presidents will preside over the signing of an agreement for the establishment of a Bi-national Commission which will monitor relations and economic activities between the two republics.

The two countries have longstanding relations forged during South Africa's freedom struggle days. Tanzania used to be the second home for many exiles and the famous 1969 Morogoro Conference which shaped the direction of the current South African ruling party, the African national Congress (ANC), took place under the watchful eye of then ANC President Oliver Tambo and Tanzania's founding president, Julius Nyerere.

Now, with a two-way trade amounting to 10 billion Rand (about 742 million US dollars) a year, Tanzanians are hopeful the meeting between the two presidents will expand economic opportunities for the two nations.

In a twist of tragic coincidence, the two countries are both reeling from bus accidents which claimed the lives of many schoolchildren.

South African International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the visit would seek to unlock human capital of the two nations with skills-transfer high on the agenda. She said the two presidents would also focus on real tangible joint projects which would enhance trade and investment and also focus on the transfer of skills.

There will also be a Business Forum which will be used to identify economic opportunities. While political relations between the two countries are well documented, analysts say there is a lot more room to increase economic activities and they insist that this forum could well be the platform to achieve this.