South Africa a good, stable place to do business, Ramaphosa tells Saudi investors
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday laid on the charm in a bid to woo investment from Saudi Arabia.
“Trade between the countries already totals $5bn and we think we can increase it much further in the next few years. South Africa stands particularly ready to increase the overall export of a basket of goods with Saudi Arabia to bring balance to the account,” he said.
The president, who is on a two-day state visit, arrived in Jeddah on Friday at the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Crown Prince and prime minister Arabia Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud.
Addressing a South Africa-Saudi Arabia investment forum, Ramaphosa said the investment flows between the countries were promising.
He said he looked forward to partnering the Saudi government in sectors such as mining, the manufacture of health products, chemicals, steel, cars, agriculture and food processing as well as energy and renewables.
“South Africa is a leading mining economy, and mining has been an integral part of our economic history for over a century. Local and international companies are active across many different value chains, from iron-ore to platinum and palladium, gold, diamonds, coal, chromium and many more,” said Ramaphosa.
In particular, he said, he looked forward to welcoming more renewable energy firms and technologies to South Africa. “We hope to see you partnering with South African firms as we increase our renewable energy generation footprint and manufacture green energy components.”
He said one area of potential synergies was the green hydrogen economy.
“We have all been following with great interest the ambitious and spectacular Neom project on the Red Sea coast. With plans to source 100% of Neom’s energy from renewable sources, including hydrogen-based power, Saudi investors will find substantial opportunities to leverage in South Africa in this regard.”
Similarly, there were opportunities for South African business to leverage at Neom.
South Africa, he added, is the largest producer of platinum, a key input in hydrogen fuel cell technology.
“Our ambitious plans to unlock the potential of the green hydrogen economy include developing a hydrogen valley that stretches from the platinum belt through the country’s industrial heartland.”
He said Saudi Arabia's investment across the value chain of the green hydrogen economy will not just support South Africa’s economic goals, but those of Saudi Arabia as well in its ongoing drive towards sustainability.
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