Cape Town - Saudi Arabia will invest at least $10 billion (R133bn) in South Africa, mostly in the energy sector, including building oil refineries, according to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko.
The move is part of Ramaphosa’s drive to attract $100bn in investment to boost the ailing economy.
The pledge was made by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during an official visit by Ramaphosa and government ministers to the oil-producing nation. Detail on the projects will be given during an investment summit expected to be held this year, said Diko.
“Most of it will be in the energy sector - including building refineries, petrochemicals and renewable energy.”
Ramaphosa was on a one-day state visit to Saudi Arabia.
He was scheduled to travel to the United Arab Emirates, the Presidency said.
“The purpose of the state visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is to assess the status of bilateral relations, while focusing primarily on strengthening economic linkages between South Africa and Saudi Arabia, particularly in terms of increasing inward investment and diversifying the trade relationship.”
South Africa imports about 47% of its oil from Saudi Arabia and regards the country 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.
Total trade amounted to just more than R55bn last year.
“The state visit will also present an opportunity for South Africa to increase co-operation with Saudi Arabia in light of the country’s new strategy for Africa,” said the Presidency.
“The president will also use the opportunity to discuss the upcoming investment summit and invite business and government delegations from both countries to the summit,” said Diko.
Ramaphosa has promised to revive the economy and crack down on corruption since becoming president in February and after winning the leadership of the governing ANC last year.