News The African Way

Ramaphosa In Saudi Arabia, Says South Africa Has ‘Unparalleled’ Investment Opportunities


By Jacobs Botha,Johannesburg

President Cyril Ramaphosa has told the South Africa – Saudi Arabia Investment Forum that trade relations and investment between the two countries can increase “much further” over the course of the next few years.

The President is on an official state visit to Saudi Arabia aimed at strengthening economic ties, with the investment forum in particular acting as a platform for investors from both countries to foster relations.

“Trade between our two countries already totals $5 billion and we think we can increase it much further in the next few years. In fact, it is our dream and our ambition that we should see this number scaling much higher.

“South Africa stands particularly ready to increase the overall export of the basket of goods with Saudi Arabia to bring together a balance to the trade account,” the President said.

President Ramaphosa emphasised that economic relations between the countries can be mutually beneficial citing South Africa’s long history of mining as a particular industry of interest.

“If it could be said that oil is the lifeblood of the Saudi economy, such is mining to the South African economy as well. We have the mineral resources but also the capability, the capacity and above all, the solid experience.

“There are many opportunities for joint ventures and industrial partnerships between businesses on both our countries’ side so as to foster greater growth and investment. For example, we can do partnerships in agro processing, fertilizer production and chemicals,” he said.

South Africa an investment gateway to Africa

President Ramaphosa described South Africa as an investment destination of choice with “great prospects” in an array of industries.

“South Africa has what I would call unparalleled opportunities that await investors with the financial capability and great business appetite. Just as Saudi Arabia is positioned as the gateway to the Middle East and to the region, South Africa is a gateway to a dynamic continent with great prospects,” he said.

The President assured the forum that although South Africa faces challenges, it still remains open for business with reforms in industries such as energy, transportation, telecommunications, water, rail and ports also fostering positive investor sentiment.

He cited continued investments – such as those pledged at this year’s South Africa Investment Conference – as a tangible signal of this.

“South Africa is a favourable, reliable and stable place to conduct business. I want to call on Saudi business to be part of the renewed momentum of international investors that are now coming to South Africa.

“Through a targeted outreach to global and local businesses, we have so far attracted investment commitments to the value of approximately $70 billion and this number is growing. We targeted $100 billion in a five year period and we are going to far exceed that,” he said.

President Ramaphosa welcomed the reports he has now received of “various agreements being concluded between private sector firms” during discussions between businesspeople at the forum.

“[The South Africa – Saudi Arabia Joint] Business Council will need to maintain this great momentum that has been built so that it can solidify the economic relationship.

“When I was last here in 2018, we were essentially laying a foundation and digging the trenches. But during this visit, we are actually consolidating and solidifying that foundation. And this great building that we are constructing of economic development between our two countries is now going up,” he said.


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