South Africa and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have signed a memorandum of understanding to benefit both countries in the areas of trade and investment.
Trade, Industry and Competition Minister, Ebrahim Patel and Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef signed the memorandum on behalf of their respective countries.
Prior to the signing ceremony, both Ministers witnessed the launch of the South Africa-Saudi Arabia Joint Business Council.
Speaking at the signing ceremony held during the two-day South Africa–Saudi Arabia 9th Joint Economic Commission (JEC) in Pretoria, Patel said he is happy with developments in the two countries.
“We have been able to resolve many things during the two-day meeting. We look forward to strengthening the relationship that exists between the two countries, especially in the areas of trade and investment,” Patel said.
Patel explained that trade between South Africa and Saudi Arabia is significant.
“We have a lot of propositions from Saudi Arabia to look at. We are looking at opportunities in the areas of trade and investment. We see great opportunities for SA companies investing in Saudi Arabia.
“The two days were to try to strengthen the relationship between the two countries. We have signed more than 20 memoranda of understanding in various areas,” Patel said.
Alkhorayef said they were looking for opportunities in South Africa.
“Political relations between the two countries are great, and that paves the way for good investments. We see great opportunities in this country.”
According to the Acting Deputy Director-General of Invest SA, Yunus Hoosen, the JEC between South Africa and Saudi Arabia is envisaged to explore areas of cooperation, which will provide and promote opportunities in trade, investment and industrial development.
“The JEC is an ideal platform to unlock investments through establishing networks with key Saudi Arabian officials and private sector leaders, and importantly to attract investment.
“Significantly, the launch of the South Africa-Saudi Arabia Joint Business Council will bring together captains of industry from both countries to develop a roadmap to deepen economic ties,” Hoosen said.
Hoosen said Saudi Arabia continues to be SA’s strategic partner in the Middle East.
“It is South Africa’s second largest trading partner the Middle East and largest source of imports from the region.”
He said the exchange of political and business visits, as well as trade and investment exhibitions and seminars by both countries in the past years, have had a positive effect on trade and investment trends.
Total bilateral trade between South Africa and Saudi Arabia stood at R66.15 billion in 2021, with South African exports at R 5.54 billion and imports from Saudi Arabia amounting to R 60.61 billion.
South Africa’s main exports to Saudi Arabia are concentrated in agriculture and agro-processing, mineral resources, chemicals, automotive parts and components, and metals.
Saudi Arabia plays an important role as a source of oil, as well as a destination for South Africa’s exports.