The JEC reached agreement to cooperate on various areas ranging from Energy, Industry, Mineral resources, Finance and Banking, Agriculture, Tourism, Transport, etc. An agreement was also reached to cooperate on social areas like Education, Sport, Health and Labour, amongst others.
A key outcome was encouraging discussions around investment in the energy sector by Saudi Arabia into South Africa. Saudi Arabia is keen to collaborate with South Africa in developing its mining sector. According to Davies, progress was made in advancing discussions on investment in the energy sector in line with the investment pledge of $10bn by Saudi Arabia. A technical team on energy will be visiting South Africa to conduct a feasibility study shortly in accordance to the $10bn pledge.
In the area of Energy, agreement was reached to finalise an MOU on renewables between the two countries. This will advance closer cooperation and exchange of expertise in this field. ACWA Power from Saudi Arabia already invested in a solar plant in Bokpoort, Northern Cape which is operational. ACWA Power is at an advanced stage to build another renewable energy plant in the Eastern Cape.
The investment relationship between South Africa and Saudi Arabia was further strengthened with the signing of an investment cooperation agreement between Invest South Africa and Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA).
Davies addressed a South Africa-Saudi Arabia Business Forum that was hosted by the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce. His programme in Saudi Arabia included a number of bilateral meetings with relevant Saudi Ministries and Investors such as ACWA Power International Chairman Mr Mohammed Abunayyan and the Vice President of Islamic Development Bank Dr Mansur Muhtar.
South Africa and Saudi Arabia maintain good political and economic relations and cooperate in a number of fields. Saudi Arabia continues to be SA’s strategic partner in the Middle East region and is South Africa’s 2nd largest trading partner and largest source of imports from the Middle East region. Globally, Saudi Arabia is among South Africa’s top 5 import partners, largely due to the amount of the oil we import from the Kingdom. SA’s exports are led by mineral product, automotive, base metals, machinery and mechanical appliances.
In terms of bilateral trade, total trade between South Africa and Saudi Arabia amounted to R55.4 billion in 2017, with a trade surplus in favour of Saudi Arabia due to oil imports. The total trade has shown consistent increase from R39.1 billion in 2013 to R55,4 billion in 2017.