SA, UAE to enhance economic relations

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has arrived in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a State Visit aimed at enhancing political and economic relations.

It is expected that greater investment opportunities for both countries are to be identified.

"We are pleased that institutions such as the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority are committed to investing in South Africa, our ministers have been directed to work out roadmaps for enhancing trade relations between the two nations during this visit,'' said President Zuma.

Other areas of cooperation include defence, health and legal matters.

The UAE is South Africa's 18th largest export market, a prominent investor in South Africa and home to a sizeable South African expatriate community including health professionals. South African companies have made a major contribution to the development of the UAE economy and in excess of 200 of them have representative offices in the UAE.

The potential for greater interaction between the two countries is enhanced through the 56 weekly flights between South Africa and the UAE.

South Africa and the UAE have signed five bilateral agreements, which provide the framework for co-operation.

There are 10 draft agreements, which are currently being negotiated - these are in the areas of defence, taxation, industrial development, promotion of investments, legal matters, social development, transport and a joint commission on bilateral issues.

On Saturday, Zuma was in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to witness the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Grand Inga Hydro-Electric Power project.

The MoU, which was signed by Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters and her counterpart, Gilbert Tshongo, signals the start of the development of large scale power generation in sub-Saharan Africa, with particular focus on hydro power resources.

It further seeks to realise the biggest hydro power project which will not only benefit the people of Congo but will also benefit the entire African continent.

The Grand Inga complex, falling within the Bas-Congo Strategic Development Corridor that forms part of the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan in the eastern part of the DRC, could potentially generate 40 000 megawatts.

The plant would be able to supply electricity to 500 million people on the continent.

During the signing of MoU, Zuma said the partnership was an important milestone for the two countries.

"It is a day on which the people of Congo begin to realize this long held dream, a dream which many people thought would never be realised, it is a day to prove Afro-optimists right and a day of celebration for South Africa too," Zuma said.