28 March 2016
Economic and Political Ties between South Africa and Saudi Arabia received a significant boost following a State Visit by President Zuma
Economic and political ties between South Africa and Saudi Arabia have received a significant boost following a successful State Visit by President Jacob Zuma to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, that took place from 26-27 March 2016.
Bilateral relations between South Africa and Saudi Arabia have been further cemented by the State Visit which has successfully served as an important structural catalyst for strengthening bilateral political and economic relations particularly in the areas of trade and investment as well as in expanding bilateral trade in support of business in targeted sectors, including the South African agricultural and agro-processed goods and services, defence procurement, manufacturing, mineral beneficiation as well as South Africa’s participation in the Saudi National Transformation Plan, especially in infrastructure development, including construction and engineering.
“We are very pleased that this State Visit will ensure, among other things, continued Saudi private sector investment in our country’s renewable energy sector in support of the National Development Plan; the South African petrochemical sector; banking and finance; tourism infrastructure as well as Saudi participation as a maritime state in our Operation Phakisa,” said President Zuma.
During the State Visit, President Zuma was bestowed the First Order, the highest award given by His Majesty King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Bin Al Saud, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques of Makkah and Medina.
"I am very humbled to receive this rare award from His Majesty King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz on behalf of our people and our country South Africa," said President Zuma.
President Zuma also addressed a high level meeting of South Africa – Saudi Arabia Business entities where he emphasized the importance of creating a platform to enhance Business-to-Business Cooperation in order to increase South African exports to the Saudi market and attract Saudi investors to South Africa.
The President said that he was also pleased that the State Visit offered South Africa an opportunity of an overview of the regional security challenges from Saudi Arabia’s perspective. "We are looking forward to the possibility of us as South Africa sharing our own experiences with regards to negotiation and reconciliation to assist in moving towards peace and security in that region," he said.
In addition, the two countries agreed to work to ensure closer bilateral intelligence cooperation, in particular in relation to the regional terrorism threat to domestic and regional security and stability.
South Africa and Saudi Arabia will also promote the stabilisation efforts of South Africa’s Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) Special Envoys in support of international efforts to find a lasting solution to the Palestine – Israeli conflict.
Finally, the two countries agreed to seek support for South Africa’s application of Observer Membership of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
President Zuma was accompanied on the State Visit by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies; Minister of State Security, Mr David Mahlobo; Minister of Police, Mr Nathi Nhleko and the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Malusi Gigaba.
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Issued by The Presidency