The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation hosted today a high level meeting between South African President Jacob Zuma, who is on a three-day official visit to the UAE, and Emirati businessmen.
The meeting was attended by Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy, Hamad Hareb Al Habsi, UAE Ambassador to South Africa, Fahad Obaid Al Tafaq, Director of Economic Affairs and International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Board Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, First Deputy Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Isa Al Ghurair, Chairman of Al Ghurair Group, as well as senior officials from Ras Al Khaimah Chamber of Commerce, General Civil Aviation authority, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, DP World, Masdar, Tawazun, Etihad Airways, Emirates Airline, Arabia Airlines and other companies.
The delegation accompanying President Zuma included Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Economic development, Elizabeth Peters, Minister of Transport and David Mahlobo, Minister of State Security.
President Zuma applauded the policies adopted by the UAE, under the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He praised the progress witnessed in all fields and said he was looking forward to seeing UAE investors benefit from the opportunities available in South Africa, particularly in the mining, construction, electronics, defence manufacturing, chemicals, plastic, livestock, foodstuff and textiles sectors.
He added that South Africa is a safe destination for investors and urged UAE businesses to set up economic and investment projects and to make use of the attractive investment environment there. He described South Africa as one of Africa's fastest growing markets.
Al Mazrouei welcomed President Zuma and his accompanying delegation and called for identifying specific investment areas. he referred to the common features between the UAE and South Africa, including government policies for economic diversification and to the opportunities for exchanging expertise and sharing best practices.
He also underlined the need to provide a suitable environment for the UAE investors in South Africa and said that the agreement on investments protection between the two countries was still pending.
The UAE and South Africa established diplomatic relations on 17th May 1994. The UAE embassy in Pretoria was opened in 1995, while the South African embassy in Abu Dhabi was opened in 1994.
Relations between the two countries have been growing, especially after the visits to the UAE, made by former South African presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, and the incumbent Jacob Zuma.
The first UAE-South African joint committee meeting was held in Abu Dhabi on 30th and 31st August 2015 and trade between them rose significantly to nearly US$ 2 bn in 2014 from 1.5 bn in 2013.