JEDDAH, 16 October – Ministry of Investment organized Saturday the Saudi-South African Investment Forum in Jeddah, which was attended by South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Minister of Investment Eng. Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar Al-Khorayef, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Competition in South Africa, Ebrahim Patel too took part.
Government officials, the Federation of Saudi Chambers members, representatives of the private sector and companies from both countries also participated in the forum.
During the forum, 11 agreements and memoranda of understanding were signed in the government and private sectors in energy, water, green hydrogen, waste diversion, logistics, and aerial survey services, aimed at promoting the developing investment sectors between the two countries and between the Middle East and South Africa region.
In his address at the forum, Al-Falih praised the solid Saudi-South African relations, including the economic and trade cooperation spanning more than three decades, citing the Kingdom’s economic and competitive advantages, which is the largest economy in the Middle East and the Arab world.
He added that the volume of the economy of this region is expected to exceed $1 trillion and that the Kingdom is growing at the fastest rate among the G-20 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.
On the Saudi-South African economic relations, Al-Falih explained that bilateral trade between the two countries is constantly growing, as it 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 reiterated the two countries’ ability to enhance these numbers to higher levels, by activating the great commercial and logistical capabilities of the Kingdom and South Africa.
Al-Falih underscored priority areas of cooperation between the Kingdom and South Africa, which include renewable and green energy, hydrogen and solar energy, mining, agriculture and food processing, industry, manufacturing, defense, and aerospace industries, tourism, communications, and information technology.
He stressed the importance of benefiting from the enormous potential of the two countries, given the fact that South Africa represents a major access point to the African continent, while the Kingdom is an important gateway to the broader Middle East and a link between East and West.
The forum’s agenda included sessions to discuss major projects in the Kingdom, and dialogue sessions in mining, industry, agriculture, food industries, tourism, energy, and renewable energy. — SPA