(AGI) - Cape Town, Jul 12 - South Africa andFrance have signed a number of agreements in areas such as agriculture, arts and culture, maritime and higher education during South African President Jacob Zuma's state visit on Monday. Zuma met with his French counterpart President Francois Hollande to boost trade and investment relations between South Africa and France. In agriculture, the two countries signed a protocol to establish the French/South African Agricultural Institute (FSAGRI). The institute, which will be based at Fort Hare University in Alice in the Eastern Cape province, aims to increase high level skills in agriculture and agro-processing. The two sides also agreed to sign a bilateral agreement on maritime cooperation in areas adjacent to the French Southern and Antarctic territories - Marion Island and Prince Edward Island. A new agreement to cooperate on a cultural programme was signed, as well as a declaration of intent to strengthen cooperation in the field of higher education, training and skills development, and to accelerate student mobility between the two countries. "France and South Africa have common interests and share values, including the promotion of peace and security, human rights, democracy, the rule of law and sustainable development. Bilateral relations are rich and cover a wide variety of fields, especially in education and training, environment, health, transport, energy, research and science, arts and culture," read the joint statement issued by the two countries. "Both parties reaffirm their commitment to build on these dynamics. In this respect, the heads of state also welcome the South Africa-France Business Forum convened, which recognises the pivotal role of organised business in the promotion of bilateral relations, and welcome the signing of a cooperation protocol between Business France and Invest SA." With regards to regional and global issues, the two sides agreed to enhance communication and coordination to address pressing regional challenges, such as terrorism, international crime and migration. (AGI) .