Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System
Date: 07 May 2012
Title: Direct flights from Eritrea to SA to improve trade relations

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Reported by: South African Government News Service

Pretoria – The South African government has welcomed the introduction of regular flights from Eritrea, saying this will further help strengthen economic, political, and social relations between the two countries.

Eritrean Airlines will now fly to Cape Town International Airport and OR Tambo Airport, four times a week. The first flight is scheduled for today.

“The South African government views this as part of advancing the African Agenda and sustainable development, which is a strategic objective of South Africa’s foreign policy for a progressive Africa and a better world,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said on Monday.

This new development, according to the department, is also in line with President Jacob Zuma’s infrastructure initiative, which aims to advance greater development, stability and integration in Africa.

“Currently, the South African mining infrastructure company, SENET, has established an office in Asmara and is involved with the government of … Eritrea in the development of Eritrea’s mining infrastructure, notably in the production of gold and copper.”

Eritrea, a former Ethiopian province and Italian colony which gained independence in 1993, is still trying to rebuild itself, especially its infrastructure and the economy after years of internal strife and instability.

Eritrea GDP’s is showing signs of growth as it soared to an estimated 17% in 2011. It is also one of the few African states that are on track towards meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals in child mortality and water conservation.