Economic and political relations between South Africa and Saudi Arabia have been significantly boosted following President Jacob Zuma’s two-day visit to that country, the presidency said yesterday.
In a statement issued by spokesperson Bongani Majola, the presidency said Zuma’s visit has particularly improved relations between the two countries in various areas of trade and investment.
It said the visit also served in expanding bilateral trade in support of business in targeted sectors including the South African agricultural and agro-processed goods and services, defence procurement, manufacturing, mineral beneficiation, construction and engineering.
“We are very pleased that this state visit will ensure, among other things, continued Saudi private sector investment in our country’s renewable energy sector in support of the National Development Plan,” Zuma said in the statement.
The president addressed a high-level meeting comprising South Africa and Saudi Arabia business entities during which he emphasised the importance of creating a platform to enhance business-to-business cooperation to increase South African exports to the Saudi market and attract Saudi investors to South Africa.
The two countries agreed to work to ensure closer bilateral intelligence cooperation, particularly in relation to the regional terrorism threat to domestic and regional security and stability, said the presidency.
South Africa and Saudi Arabia would also promote the stabilisation efforts of South Africa’s Middle East peace process special envoys in support of international efforts to find a lasting solution to the conflict between Palestine and Israel.
Zuma concluded his visit to Saudi Arabia on Sunday. He was accompanied by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, Minister of State Security David Mahlobo, Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko, as well as Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba.
The presidency said Zuma jetted off to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for a working visit with the same delegation, where he arrived yesterday morning.
It said the aim of his visit was to consolidate and elevate the existing political and economic relations between the two countries, especially in commercial, trade and investment sectors.
The visit will also evolve around the promotion of South Africa as a top global tourism destination for visitors from the Gulf region.