Deputy President Paul Mashatile has arrived in Riyadh, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to lead the South African delegation to the 1st Saudi-Africa Summit, scheduled for this afternoon, Friday, 10 November 2023.
Originally scheduled for 2019, the Saudi-Africa Summit will deal in the main with development issues, key among them being education, health, humanitarian assistance and economic development.
Deputy President Mashatile’s delegation comprises Dr Naledi Pandor, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Ibrahim Patel, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, and Dr Nobuhle Nkabane, the Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy.
The Deputy President will use the opportunity of his visit to hold bilateral talks with some of the leaders of the delegations, and will also pay a courtesy call on His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Bilateral Relations between South Africa and Saudi Arabia
The bilateral relationship between Saudi Arabia and South Africa is cordial and has strengthened over the years, underpinned by strong political relations which also translate into strong economic engagement.
Our bilateral relations with the Kingdom are conducted mainly through two mechanisms: the Bilateral Political Consultation (BPC) and the Joint Economic Commisssion (JEC). The inaugural session of the BPC was held in 2021, and Minister Pandor is scheduled to host and co-chair the second session of the Saudi-South Africa BPC on 29 January 2024 with her counterpart, His Highness Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud. The 9th session of the JEC was hosted and co-chaired by Minister Patel from 3 to 4 October 2022, just prior to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State Visit to Saudi Arabia from 15 to 16 October.
On the economic front, total trade between the two countries amounted to approximately R80 billion in 2022, with the basket of traded goods consisting largely of commodities between the two countries.
A big part of the work of our bilateral instruments is to diversify trade between our countries, and explore opportunities that exist in agriculture and agri-processing, mining and energy, tourism, health, aviation and transport, maritime industries, as well as arts and culture.
Saudi Arabia is South Africa’s second largest trading partner in Middle East region, coming just behind the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Presidency: Republic of South Africa.