Though battered by huge criticisms by most south African citizens especially from opposition parties, president Jacob Zuma took it upon himself to resuscitate the economic status of the country by taking a business trip to Saudi Arabia.
While taking a trip to the country of Saudi Arabia on Sunday to strengthen economic ties between the two countries, President Jacob Zuma said South Africa has a substantive competitive advantage on offer as a strategic point of entry to the Southern African region and the African continent.
Hence he called for South Africans to cooperate with him to ensure a successful expansion of economic cooperation between South Africa and Saudi Arabia‚
“While our political relations with Saudi Arabia are strong, our economic and trade ties should be reviewed and revitalized,” he said in a statement.
Pointing out sectors such as agriculture, mining, infrastructure, finance, defense, gas exploration and alternative energy and lots more, president Zuma said these are key areas the ties between the two countries ought to be strengthened.
“The next important step is to enhance bilateral trade‚ investment flows‚ the identification of targeted areas of collaboration and to address impediments in this respect as well as the implementation of a mutually agreed upon framework to enhance economic‚ trade and investment cooperation‚” he said .
Zuma also called for collaboration in skills and technology transfers‚ the strengthening of trade institutions and optimal cooperation between the governments and private sectors of the two countries.
The South African economy has since late last year, been hit by slow growth and a weak currency, which have been compounded by a drought that has resulted in higher food prices and Zuma on his part has not been feeling too well about the issue especially as all blames pored down on him.
But while he was still speaking at a South Africa-Saudi Arabia business seminar, Zuma highlighted defense procurement and partnerships as well as South Africa’s Operation Phakisa ocean economy initiatives – particularly aquaculture‚ maritime oil and gas exploration and shipbuilding as part of the areas they would both look into.
Zuma added that South Africa’s partnerships with international companies were central to its drive for growing the country’s economy.
“On the investment front‚ I am happy to inform you that South Africa is open for doing business and is globally regarded as a strategic and competitive destination for foreign investors‚” Zuma stated.
Opportunities for mutual partnerships between the two countries were almost limitless‚ he added.