Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has arrived in Saudi Arabia where he will co-chair the eighth session of the South Africa–Saudi Arabia Joint Economic Commission (JEC).
“The eighth session of the JEC will assess the progress made and implementation of the commitments of the previous session and seek ways to further deepen trade, economic and social cooperation,” the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) said on Sunday.
The purpose of the visit is threefold. In addition to co-chairing the JEC, Davies is leading a business delegation of South African companies from the financial services, agro-processing and pharmaceutical sectors.
The visit is also a follow up on President Ramaphosa’s State Visit to Saudi Arabia in July 2018, where Saudi Arabia pledged to invest $10 billion in South Africa’s energy, defence and agricultural sectors.
“A number of bilateral meetings with relevant Saudi ministries and investors have also been convened. These meetings will discuss the implementation of the institutions with a view of the $10 billion investment pledge,” the department said.
Davies is scheduled to address a business forum that will be hosted by the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce for business persons of both countries.
South Africa and Saudi Arabia maintain good political and economic relations and cooperate in a number of fields.
Globally, Saudi Arabia is among South Africa’s top five import partners, largely due to the amount of the oil SA imports from the kingdom.
South Africa currently imports approximately 47% of its oil from the Arab country and regards it as a strategic partner in the Middle East.
The country is also a large investor in South Africa, especially in the area of renewable energy.
In terms of bilateral trade, 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.
Total trade has shown a consistent increase from R39.1 billion in 2013 to R55.4 billion in 2017. – SAnews.gov.za