Minister Nkoana-Mashabane to Host UAE Foreign Minister Al-Nahyan
Pretoria – South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will, on Thursday 4 June 2009 host the United Arab Emirates Minister of Foreign Affairs Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al- Nahyan during his visit in Cape Town.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane will meet Minister Al Nahyan within the context of strengthening bilateral political, economic and trade relations between South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.
Bilateral Political Relations
South Africa enjoys positive bilateral relations with the United Arab Emirates. Formal diplomatic relations were established during the visit by the former Foreign Minister Shaikh Hamdan bin Zayed al Nahyan to South Africa in 1994, which was followed by the opening of embassies in both capitals in 1995.
Relationships between the two countries are characterised by several high-level visits, a high level of trade and economic interaction, thrice-daily flights between Dubai and Johannesburg and a large South African expatriate community in the UAE. Both former Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki visited the UAE.
Engagements between Ministers Nkoana-Mashabane and Al-Nahyan are likely to include, among others:
The status of bilateral political and economic relations between the two countries;
Developments in Africa and South Africa;
Developments in the Middle East;
Support for the 2010 Fifa World Cup to be hosted by South Africa;
Bilateral Economic Relations
South Africa and the UAE maintain a very strong economic relationship. The UAE is the 24th largest market for South African products. It is a major investor in South Africa, the largest investment being Dubai World’s acquisition of the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. There are some 210 South African companies with representative offices in the UAE and many have been involved in major projects in several of the emirates.
The United Arab Emirates and South Africa have enjoyed a close commercial relationship since 1994. Overall trade between the two countries has been growing each year. The UAE is one of South Africa's lucrative markets in the Gulf and current statistics show that trade between South Africa and the UAE, especially gold exports from South Africa, is gaining momentum. Apart from gold, South Africa is also a major exporter of steel to the emirates and South African construction, consultancy and service sectors are also playing a big role in the rapid development of the UAE.
Major South African exports to the UAE comprise base metals and allied products, steel for both construction and general engineering, machinery, electronics equipment, minerals; defence equipment; chemicals, plastic goods and foodstuff. In the reverse direction, the UAE exports to SA are oil-related products, machinery, transportation equipment, consumer electronics, home appliances, ball bearings, computer accessories and textiles.