South Africa, Qatar explore investment opportunities

Pretoria - The President of the Black Business Council, Dr Danisa Baloyi, says South Africa should take advantage of the economic opportunities presented by the State of Qatar, especially in agriculture and the ocean economy.

Speaking to SAnews on Wednesday at the South Africa-Qatar Business Forum held in Pretoria, Baloyi said because South Africa has been faced with the challenge of unemployment for years, it should take advantage of opportunities that will help to create more jobs.

She said some of the skills that Qatar will give to South Africa include ship building, ship maintenance and overall ship engineering.

“Investment is not only about injecting money in the country, but it is about skills development and ensuring that our young people are employed in sustainable jobs, not temporary jobs,” said Baloyi.

She said Qatar has indicated that it is interested in South Africa’s technology, especially in the energy sector, although there is a lot that South Africa needs to learn from Qatar about energy as well.

“They are also interested in mining. They have done a lot in water, and they believe that South Africa is a bit advanced in water related activities,” said Baloyi.

South Africa has been implementing Operation Phakisa for the Ocean Economy for over two years now. It is an initiative that aims to unlock the economic potential of South Africa’s oceans.

According to government, South Africa’s oceans have the potential to grow from the current R54 billion to between R129 billion to R177 billion by 2033 and increase the number of jobs from 316 000 to just over one million.

Baloyi said partnerships such as the one the country has with Qatar increase the chances of realising this goal.

The Secretary General of the Qatar Business Council, Mohammed Bin Ahmed M. Al Obaidly, told SAnews his delegation was impressed by how South Africa presented investment opportunities to Qatar.

“We are not only looking into doing business and benefiting the private sector, but we are also looking at exchanging skills development programmes. South African companies have good technologies in petrochemicals and other things, so we are looking into strengthening our partnerships in that field as well.

“We have the right infrastructure as business in Qatar. We want to expand outside our territory and we have seen opportunities in South Africa. We are also expecting the South African delegation to come through to our country to look for opportunities they might want to invest in,” said Al Obaidly.

An area of interest for South African investment, Al Obaidly said, is facility management.

“We have good facility management [at] our airports, railways, traffic, water and sanitation [sectors]. There is a lot [the South African delegation] can learn from us,” he said.

Diplomatic relations between South Africa and the State of Qatar were established in 1994.

South Africa’s exports to Qatar have maintained a consistent increase from 2011 to 2015, reflected by a positive 11.9%annual growth in 2015 and 46.08% average annual growth from 2011 to 2015. - SAnews.gov.za