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Zelenskyy plans to visit South Africa in coming months, media says

Zelenskyy plans to visit South Africa in coming months, media says President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Vitalii Nosach, RBC-Ukraine)

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy intends to visit South Africa in the coming months, according to the local media Business Day.

"Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy plans to pay SA an official state visit in the next few months as part of his African charm offensive amid a debilitating war with Russia," the media writes.

According to Business Day, International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor said that the president intended to visit South Africa this year to establish stronger trade links with SA and to discuss the nature of the relationship, which he hopes will ensue after the war.

Ukraine-Africa relations

Last year, Ukraine had a lot of diplomatic activity focused on the Global South, primarily with Africa. In 2023, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba had two African tours, while Zelenskyy held dozens of talks with leaders on the continent. An African delegation also visited Kyiv.

As Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa Maksym Subh explained, since the very beginning of the full-scale war, Ukraine has been working on mobilizing support from around the world, including Africa, which did not fully realize the consequences for the region after Russian aggression.

"Few in Africa realized their dependence on Ukrainian grain or fertilizers. Few understood that the economies of many countries on this continent, primarily North and East Africa, had a system of business contacts with Ukraine that collapsed because of the war," Subh said.

For more on ties between Ukraine and the Global South, read the RBC-Ukraine article "Heading South: How Ukraine seeking allies beyond Europe and US."