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The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies has returned to South Africa following a visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where he co-chaired the 8th Session of the South Africa – Saudi Arabia Joint Economic Commission (JEC). The Saudi side was chaired by Dr Majed Abdullah Alkasabi, Minister of Commerce and Investment.

The JEC agreed to co-operate on various areas, ranging from energy and industry to mineral resources, finance and banking, agriculture, tourism, and transport. The two countries also agreed to co-operate on social areas such as education, sport, health, and labour.

Saudi Arabia and South Africa further strengthen investment ties

According to Minister Davies, progress was made in advancing discussions on investment in the energy sector. This follows a pledge of $10-billion worth of investment by Saudi Arabia earlier this year. A Saudi technical team on energy will be visiting South Africa to conduct a feasibility study in the next few months as part of the investment agreement.

Saudi Arabia and South Africa will also be finalising an MoU on renewables, advancing closer coioperation and exchange of expertise. ACWA Power from Saudi Arabia has already invested in an operational solar plant in Bokpoort in the Northern Cape, and the company is looking to build another renewable energy plant in the Eastern Cape.

The investment relationship between South Africa and Saudi Arabia was further strengthened with the signing of an investment co-operation agreement between Invest South Africa and Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA). This agreement provides a framework and provides a mechanism to resolve any obstacles that might hinder investment projects, advancing two-way investment.

South Africa and Saudi Arabia maintain good political and economic relations and co-operate in a number of areas. Saudi Arabia is South Africa’s second largest trading partner and largest source of imports from the Middle East. Globally, Saudi Arabia is among South Africa’s top five import partners, largely due to the amount of oil we import from the kingdom. South Africa’s exports are led by mineral products, and include automotive exports, base metals, machinery and mechanical appliances.

Total trade between South Africa and Saudi Arabia amounted to R55,4 billion in 2017, with a trade surplus in favour of Saudi Arabia due to oil imports. The total trade between the two counries has shown a consistent increase from R39,1 billion in 2013 to R55,4 billion in 2017.

Image credit: https://www.africa-newsroom.com/press/media/minister-davies-concludes-visit-to-saudi-arabia?lang=en?display=image

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