South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will undertake a State Visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, 12 July 2018 and Friday, 13 July 2018, respectively.
During the visit, in Saudi Arabia, President Ramaphosa is scheduled to meet with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud on 12 July 2018 in Jeddah.
The purpose of the State Visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is to assess the status of bilateral relations, whilst focusing primarily on strengthening economic linkages between South Africa and Saudi Arabia, particularly in terms of increasing inward investment and diversifying the trade relationship.
South Africa imports approximately 47% of its oil from Saudi Arabia and regards the country as a strategic partner in the Middle East. The country is also a large investor in South Africa, especially in the area of renewable energy. Total trade amounted to just more than R55 billion in 2017.
The State Visit will also present an opportunity for South Africa to increase co-operation with Saudi Arabia in light of the country’s new strategy for Africa.
While in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), President Ramaphosa will meet His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces of the United Arab Emirates on Friday, 13 July 2018.
South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have maintained sound bilateral and commercial relations since formal diplomatic ties were first established in 1994. The relationship has a strong economic focus, with the UAE being South Africa’s main importing partner within the Gulf region.
The UAE is growing as a lucrative export market for South African products and services, while many South African companies are benefitting from opportunities in the UAE in various sectors.
A sharp increase has been witnessed over the last six years in total trade between South Africa and the UAE, with figures escalating from R6 billion in 2011 to R38.2 billion in 2017, a positive trajectory of the potential for enhancing trade between the two countries. The UAE will be an important partner for South Africa in achieving the goal of attracting more investments into the country.
The President will also use the opportunity to discuss the upcoming Investment Summit and invite business and government delegations from both countries to the Summit.