Though it has not been officially confirmed, mining is likely to be one of the sectors that are likely to benefit from President Jacob Zuma’s recent investment courting mission in the Middle East during the Easter Weekend.
In a drive to attract much needed investment to the country, after seeing significant amount of foreign capital fleeing the country, Zuma, accompanies by a high level business delegation and some ministers, visited United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia.
While in Saudi Arabia, in his address to the South Africa-Saudi Zuma stressed the need “to create a platform to enhance business-to-business co-operation in order to increase South African exports to the Saudi market and attract investors from the Gulf state to South Africa”.
South Africa’s exports to Saudi Arabia have increased significantly from R2.6 billion in 2013 to R4.7bn in 2014. The country imports oil from Saudi Arabia worth $2.2bn. Thus far the biggest Saudi investment is South Africa is the $1bn solar plant project in Groblershoop in the Northern Cape which has the capacity to power more than 200 000 households.
Commenting on his state visit, Zuma said: “We are 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.”
On visit to the UAE, Zuma addressed the UAE-South Africa business forum, calling South Africa a “significant” investor in the country. “Between January 2003 and June 2015, 27 foreign direct investment projects from South Africa to the UAE were recorded, representing R5bn. In addition, trade between the two countries has increased from R13bn in 20111 5o R27bn.”