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South Africa, Saudi Arabia to boost trade ties

South Africa, Saudi Arabia to boost trade ties

CAPE TOWN: Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Tawfig Fawzan Alrabiah, will co-chair the 7th session of the South Africa-Saudi Arabia Joint Economic Commission (JEC) in Cape Town this week.

The JEC starts on Monday with senior government officials and concludes on Tuesday with the signing of the joint communiqué by the two ministers, the Trade and Industry Department (dti) said in a statement.

“The JEC is an initiative agreed upon between the two countries to strengthen economic ties and to attract foreign direct investment from Saudi Arabia into South Africa in targeted sectors. It also aims to promote sound business-to-business co-operation.”

The South Africa-Saudi Arabia business council would take place on the sidelines of the JEC and would report back to the ministers within the framework of the JEC. The business council was intended to enhance economic trade relations by identifying specific projects or initiatives in various priority sectors.

At the 6th session of the JEC in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, last year, Davies said the level of investment between the two countries was far below potential. The JEC resolved that to improve investment between the two countries, South African and Saudi Arabian companies should explore investments and joint ventures.

“Both sides agreed to enhance trade and investment through the exchange of high-level business delegations and participation in each other’s country exhibitions. They also agreed to participate in priority investment sectors such as agro-processing, the blue economy, mining and petro-chemicals, as well as investment in special economic zones.”

Davies, together with Alrabiah, would also on Monday launch the R5 billion Bokpoort concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in Groblershoop, near Upington in the Northern Cape.

The Bokpoort CSP project was one of the flagship concentrated solar thermal projects in South Africa, and was set to become the CSP with the largest level of thermal storage (capacity 9.3 hours) in the world when completed. The plant formed part of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme, the dti said.