PRETORIA, South African President Jacob Zuma leaves Thursday for a State visit to Tanzania, where he will co-chair the launch of the South Africa-Tanzania Bi-National Commission (BNC) with his host, President John Pemba Magufuli.

The BNC is the highest mechanism regulating bilateral relations between two countries and the agreement establishing the BNC was signed in July 2011 and will be operationalised and officially launched on Thursday.

The visit will allow the two Heads of State to hold talks on a wide range of bilateral issues, according to a statement issued by the Presidency here Monday.

This will include a review of the status of the bilateral relations, adoption of strategic interventions to further strengthen the relationship to focus on mutually identified priority issues and discuss regional and continental peace and security issues, the Presidency said.

During the visit, President Zuma and President Magufuli will also address the South Africa-Tanzania Business Forum, which will be held on the sidelines of the State visit to strengthen economic relations between the two countries.

The two countries enjoy excellent bilateral relations, which date back to the days of South Africa’s liberation struggle. On the economic front, relations continue to grow and co-operation encompasses trade and investment, science and technology, agriculture, environment, energy, infrastructure development and retail, among others.

Trade between the two countries in 2016 indicated that South African exports to Tanzania were valued at 6.5 billion Rand (about 487 million US dollars), while imports from Tanzania amounted to 3.5 billion Rand. There are more than 150 South African companies operating in Tanzania in areas such as financial services, hospitality and leisure as well as electronics and information communication technology (ICT).

President Zuma will be accompanied by Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula; Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor; Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies; Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa; Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi and a business delegation.