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South Africa and Saudi Arabia to boost bilateral trade

The South African-Saudi Arabia Business Council has committed to boosting trade as part of efforts to grow the economies of both countries.

South Africa’s exports to Saudi Arabia increased to R7.3 billion in 2023, up from R6.6 billion in 2022, while imports from Saudi Arabia decreased to R54.6 billion from R73.6 billion for the same period.

Exported goods include agricultural products, motor vehicles and basic chemicals, while imports are mainly refined petroleum, related products and crude oil.

Co-Chairperson of the Council, Stavros Nicolaou, underscored the need to increase trade and investment at a media briefing held during a visit by a Saudi business delegation recently.

“The Saudi Arabia market presents enormous growth opportunities for South African companies looking to expand their businesses in the Gulf region as shown by local companies that are slowly establishing a presence in that region,” Nicolaou said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister of Trade, Industry, and Competition Ebrahim Patel have led ongoing engagements between South Africa and Saudi Arabia, resulting in local businesses finding a foothold in the market.

Dr Hisham Al Amoudi, vice-chairperson of the Council, reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to investing in South Africa.

Al Amoudi said the South Africa and Saudi Arabia Joint Economic Commission and the Business Council was a good platform to further progress and boost inward investments between the countries.

He said Saudi Arabia is committed to increasing investment across various sectors.

“We are committed to increasing investments for mutual benefits and supporting South Africa’s economic growth.”

The visit by the Saudi business delegation aims to strengthen current trade relations and explore opportunities for South African companies to increase market access for products that have high export potential to Saudi Arabia. These include motor vehicles, fruits, mineral resources, chemicals, machinery and electrical equipment.

Currently, Saudi is the largest investor in South Africa’s local renewable energy sector and ACWA Power has a leading role in this area.

Overall, it is estimated that Saudi investment into South Africa amounts to $1.62 billion.

The Business Council focuses on five main workstreams – energy and renewable energy, tourism, hospitality and entertainment, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, mining and commodities, and food and agro-processing. – SAnews.gov.za


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