S. Africa to lure investors from Middle East

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Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President of South Africa during the press conference. Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

CAPE TOWN (Xinhua) – President Cyril Ramaphosa will spearhead an investment drive that will take him to the Middle East, the Presidency said on Wednesday.

Ramaphosa will visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to lure investment, presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko said.

The president, whose two-day visit ends July 13, will use the opportunity to discuss an upcoming investment summit and invite business and government delegations from both countries to the summit, Diko said.

South Africa is planning to host the investment summit later this year to boost its global investment drive.

Ramaphosa’s visit to the Middle East is also seen as an effort by the South African government to increase oil import at a time when fuel prices have reached record high in South Africa, sparking discontent among South Africans.

The purpose of the state visit to Saudi Arabia is to assess the status of bilateral relations, whilst focusing primarily on strengthening economic linkages between the two countries, particularly in terms of increasing inward investment and diversifying the trade relationship, Diko said.

South Africa imports approximately 47 percent of its oil from Saudi Arabia and regards the country as a strategic partner in the Middle East.

The kingdom is also a large investor in South Africa, especially in the area of renewable energy. Total trade amounted to more than 55 billion rand (about four billion U.S. dollars) in 2017.

The UAE is also an important partner for South Africa in achieving the goal of attracting more investment into the country, said Diko.

The UAE is growing as a lucrative export market for South African products and services, while many South African companies are benefiting from opportunities in the UAE in various sectors, according to Diko.

South Africa and the UAE have maintained sound bilateral and commercial relations since formal diplomatic ties were first established in 1994.

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