President Zuma to lead a South African delegation on a State Visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Working Visit to the United Arab Emirates

25 March 2016

President Jacob Zuma will lead a high-level delegation on a State Visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 27 March 2016 and a Working Visit to the United Arab Emirates on 28 March 2016.

South Africa and Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial bilateral relations.  For many years prior to the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1994, Saudi Arabia took a leading position in the Arab world in opposing the injustices of the Apartheid system.

The State Visit of the President will serve as an important structural catalyst to strengthen bilateral political and economic relations, in particular by strengthening cooperation in the areas of trade and investment and in support of expanding cultural and people-to-people interaction between the two countries.

The State Visit to Saudi Arabia by President Zuma is the third Presidential visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia following the first State Visit by the late former President Mandela in 1997 and a Working Visit by former President Mbeki in 2007.

Bilateral relations between the two countries are managed through the Joint Economic Commission, which held its 7th session from 14-15 March 2016 in Cape Town, under the leadership of Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and his Saudi counterpart, Dr Tawfeeq Al Rabiah, Minister of Commerce and Industry.

To further strengthen trade, investment and economic ties, including Business – to – Business cooperation between the Republic of South Africa and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a substantive business delegation will accompany President Zuma on his State Visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In March this year, Saudi Arabian firm ACWA Power announced R 15 billion investment in the solar plant project in the town of Groblershoop in the Northern Cape, with the capacity to power more than 200,000 households.

South Africa and the UAE enjoy strong bond of friendship and strategic bilateral relations characterized by the exchange of several high level visits, a high level of trade and economic interaction, multiple daily flights between the UAE and three South African cities and a large South African expatriate community in the UAE.

Total trade between the two countries increased from SA Rand 13 billion in 2011 to R27 billion in 2015. By 2015 a total of 14 FDI projects from the UAE were recorded representing almost SA Rand 3 billion. Between January 2003 and June 2015 a total of 27 FDI projects from South Africa to UAE were recorded, representing a total capital investment of SA Rand 5.06bn ranging from construction, financial, IT services, hospitality and retail.

The visit to the UAE by the President follows the Inaugural Session of the Joint Commission between the Republic of South Africa and the United Arab Emirates held in Abu Dhabi on 30 and 31 August 2015, co-chaired by the Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates, Ms Reem Ebrahim Al-Hashimi and the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

This year, South Africa will host the second SA-UAE Joint Commission aimed at measuring progress in targeted sectors of the bilateral relationship and to manage and direct the implementation of mutually agreed upon bilateral programs.

The objectives of the President’s visit to the United Arab Emirates are to consolidate and elevate the solid and cordial political and economic relations which exist between the respective countries in particular in the commercial, trade and investment sectors, as well as people-to- people and cultural interaction, including the promotion of South Africa as a top global tourism destination for visitors from the Gulf region.

The President will be accompanied by Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation; Mr David Mahlobo, Minister of State Security; Dr Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry; Mr Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Home Affairs and Mr Nkosinathi Nhleko, Minister of Police.

Enquiries: Bongani Majola on 082 339 1993 or Clayson Monyela, 082 884 5974 or

Issued by The Presidency



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