28 November 2013
South Africa President Jacob Zuma returned from a two-day state visit to Ghana on Wednesday, saying it was a highly successful trip which had “yielded very important results which will see our bilateral relations moving to a higher level”.
Zuma was accompanied by a high-level government and business delegation on his trip, during which he held talks with Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama and addressed a session of the South Africa-Ghana Business Forum.
The signing of a bilateral air services agreement as well as memoranda of understanding in transport and energy “highlight the level of cooperation between our two countries, and we have agreed that these instruments should translate into concrete projects,” Zuma said in a statement on Wednesday.
Both Zuma and Mahama encouraged businesses to take advantage of the two countries’ strong relations, and Africa’s positive economic growth prospects, to increase trade and investment.
Addressing the South Africa-Ghana Business Forum on Tuesday, Zuma said the two countries were “poised to deepen our cooperation further in the fields of tourism, communication, energy, oil and gas, manufacturing, mining, agriculture as well as science and technology”.
He noted that the recently launched Saldanha Bay industrial development zone on South Africa’s south-western coast “provides a vehicle for partnership for upstream exploration and production service companies operating in the oil and gas fields of sub-Saharan Africa”.
A feasibility study conducted ahead of the launch found that Saldanha Bay is strategically located to serve as a service, maintenance, fabrication and supply hub for Africa’s booming oil and gas sector, due to the increasing number of oil rigs requiring maintenance, and their traffic flow passing from the west to the east coast of Africa.
In October, German company Oiltanking GmbH entered a joint venture with a number of South African companies to build a commercial crude oil storage and blending terminal at the port of Saldanha. The company said that Saldanha was an excellent location for a crude oil hub, “as it is close to strategic tanker routes from key oil-producing regions to major oil-consuming markets”.
According to The Presidency, South Africa’s imports from Ghana – the bulk of which was crude oil – amounted to R1.9-billion in 2012, while its exports to Ghana stood at an estimated R5-billion.
South Africa is the 14th largest investor in Ghana, with investments adding up to more than R64-billion in the decade between 2003 and April 2013. There are more than 80 South African multinational and small-scale companies registered in Ghana.