Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has spent most of his Easter weekend wooing investors in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as part of his pledge to revive South Africa’s economy.
During a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Sunday, Zuma told a South Africa-Saudi Arabia business seminar that it was important to create a platform to enhance business-to-business co-operation in order to increase South African exports to the Saudi market and attract investors from the Gulf state to South Africa.
Zuma was accompanied by a high level business delegation and some ministers from the economic and security clusters.
South Africa’s exports to Saudi Arabia showed an increase from R2.6 billion in 2013 to R4.7bn in 2014.
South Africa imports oil from Saudi Arabia worth $2.2bn.
A R15bn Saudi investment in a solar plant project in Groblershoop in the Northern Cape has the capacity to power more than 200 000 households.
“We are pleased that this state visit will ensure, among other things, continued Saudi private sector investment in our country’s renewable energy sector in support of the National Development Plan; the South African petrochemical sector; banking and finance; tourism infrastructure, as well as Saudi participation as a maritime state in our operation Phakisa,” Zuma said.
From Jeddah, Zuma jetted with his delegation to the UAE for a working visit on Monday. The visit followed an inaugural session of the joint commission between the two countries held in Abu Dhabi in August.
Total trade between the two countries increased from R13bn in 2011 to R27bn in 2015.
Addressing the UAE-South Africa business forum, Zuma said South Africa was a significant investor in the UAE, and between January 2003 and June 2015, 27 foreign direct investment projects from South Africa to the UAE were recorded, representing R5bn.