While South Africa’s political relations with Saudi Arabia are strong, economic and trade ties should be reviewed and revitalized, President Jacob Zuma said recently. “Opportunities for mutual partnerships between our two countries are almost limitless,” he told the South Africa – Saudi Arabia business seminar in Riyadh during his state visit to Saudi Arabia.
The next important step was to enhance bilateral trade, investment flows, the identification of targeted areas of collaboration and to address impediments in this respect, as well as implementation of a mutually agreed upon framework to enhance economic, trade, and investment co-operation, he said. This included collaboration in skills and technology transfers, strengthening trade institutions, and optimal co-operation between the governments and private sectors of the two countries.
Identified targeted sectors with high potential to expand South Africa – Saudi Arabia trade, economic, and investment relations included petrochemical gas exploration and alternative energy sectors, including investment in South Africa’s refining capacity; agricultural products, agro-processed goods, and food processing equipment; mining management and technologies, mining equipment, and minerals mapping and beneficiation; the automotive industry and manufacturing; and the chemicals, medical, and pharmaceuticals sector.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report latest rankings, South Africa had risen seven places to rank 49th out of 140 countries in the Global Competitiveness Index. South Africa remained in the top 30 economies globally. Zuma has also urged Saudi business people to partner with their South African counterparts, to help to improve the living conditions of South Africans.