JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and South Africa on Saturday signed 11 agreements and memoranda of understanding in the government and private sectors, aimed at promoting their developing investment sectors.
The deals, which were signed at the Saudi-South African Investment Forum in Jeddah, covered the fields of energy, water, green hydrogen, waste diversion, logistics and aerial survey services.
The forum, organized by the Saudi Ministry of Investment, was attended on the South African side by President Cyril Ramaphosa, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel and others.
Saudi attendees included Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih, Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb, and Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Al-Khorayef.
In his address at the forum, Al-Falih praised Saudi-South African relations, including economic and trade cooperation spanning more than three decades.
“Our nations share many traits. The Kingdom is the largest economy in the Middle East and in the Arab world, and holds a leading political and economic role in the region,” he said.
“Meanwhile, South Africa is the second-largest economy in Africa and the most diverse and technologically advanced economy on the African continent, with great market potential, well-developed infrastructure and a competitive private sector,” he added.
“These circumstances present an invaluable opportunity to strengthen our cooperation, which can be seen as an exceptional South-to-South exchange, especially given the timing, with the world undergoing tremendous shifts and challenges.”
Al-Falih said Saudi Arabia is growing at the fastest rate among the G20 economies, as it enjoys a strategic location linking three continents, and has a coastline of 1,200 km along the Red Sea, through which about 15 percent of global trade travels.
He added that Saudi-South African trade is constantly growing, has increased from $4.6 billion in 2019 to around $4.8 billion last year, and is expected to exceed $5.3 billion in 2022.
He said these numbers could increase further by activating the great commercial and logistical capabilities of the two countries.
Al-Falih underscored priority areas of cooperation, including renewable energy, mining, agriculture and food processing, manufacturing, defense and aerospace industries, tourism, communications and information technology.
He said South Africa represents a major access point to Africa, while Saudi Arabia is an important gateway to the Middle East and a link between East and West.
The forum’s agenda included sessions on major projects in the Kingdom, mining, agriculture, food, tourism and energy.