South Africa is one of Russia’s “strategic partners”, and a counterpart country in the BRICS economic bloc representing five of the world’s leading emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

The two partners moved to cement relations in March this year when South African President Jacob Zuma hosted his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the 5th BRICS summit in Durban. Russian President then stated that the countries have a good basis for increasing cooperation.

In 2012, trade turnover between Russia and South Africa grew by a record 66%, almost reaching $ 1 billion. This is nearly twice as much as a year earlier.

The latest Russian-South African talks produced a wide range of cooperation agreements in the fields of energy, fisheries, aviation safety, natural resources and transport. So far, Russian companies have raised more than $ 1 billion in mutually beneficial projects in South Africa, investing money in its economy, according to Russian President.

Cooperation in the energy sector has a huge potential. Russia is negotiating credit support for South Africa to build nuclear power plants using Russian specialists. In its turn, South Africa will help Russia maintain the Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS). The plan is to establish a quantum-optical system in the African state to increase the accuracy of GLONASS signal reception in the Southern Hemisphere.

Meanwhile, the two sides also inked a memorandum of understanding on the neutral recognition of academic qualifications and degrees between South African department and the Russian government. This is set to open a window of opportunities for students from both countries.