President Jacob Zuma speaking at the South Africa-Saudi Arabian Business Seminar in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Picture: GCIS
President Jacob Zuma speaking at the South Africa-Saudi Arabian Business Seminar in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Picture: GCIS

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has called for greater and expanded economic cooperation between South Africa and Saudi Arabia‚ saying that South Africa has a substantive competitive advantage on offer as a strategic point of entry to the Southern African region and the African continent.

Mr Zuma‚ who is on a state visit to the Arab kingdom‚ told a South Africa-Saudi Arabia business seminar that while political relations between the two countries were strong‚ economic and trade ties should be reviewed and revitalised.

"The next important step is to enhance bilateral trade‚ investment flows‚ the identification of targeted areas of collaboration and to address impediments in this respect as well as the implementation of a mutually agreed upon framework to enhance economic‚ trade and investment cooperation‚" he said.

"This includes collaboration in skills and technology transfers‚ the strengthening of trade institutions and optimal cooperation between the governments and private sectors of our two countries."

Among the sectors targeted for high potential to expand trade‚ economic and investment relations between the two countries‚ Zuma said‚ were petrochemical gas exploration and alternative energy sectors‚ including investment in South Africa’s refining capacity.

Other areas included: 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; chemicals‚ medical and pharmaceuticals sector; clothing‚ textiles and leather; advanced manufacturing equipment; forestry‚ pulp and paper and furniture; and infrastructure development‚ construction‚ engineering and transport sectors.

He also highlighted defence procurement and partnerships as well as South Africa’s Operation Phakisa ocean economy initiatives — particularly aquaculture‚ maritime oil and gas exploration and shipbuilding.

Opportunities for mutual partnerships between the two countries were almost limitless‚ he added.

Mr Zuma added that South Africa’s partnerships with international companies were central to its drive for growing the country’s economy.

"On the investment front‚ I am happy to inform you that South Africa is open for doing business and is globally regarded as a strategic and competitive destination for foreign investors‚" Mr Zuma said.

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