South Africa's Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and Irish officials have met to discuss education and business cooperation.

The highest-level South African delegation to Ireland since diplomatic ties were established in 1994 arrived in Dublin yesterday.

Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka is to meet President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern tomorrow.

Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka is understood to be interested in learning first hand about Ireland's economic boom, particularly how jobs have been created and how the education system fosters economic growth.

She is heading a large delegation, including the ministers for transport and education and the deputy ministers for foreign affairs, trade and industry and communications.

South Africa is Ireland's 33rd most important trading partner.