26 November 2013
South Africa’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sadiq Jaffer, on Monday encouraged South African companies to start building relationships with their Saudi Arabian counterparts.
Jaffer was speaking at the South Africa-Riyadh Chamber of Commerce Business Forum in Riyadh, where a South African business delegation is currently taking part in an outward selling mission organised by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The business delegation was due to visit various sites in Riyadh on Tuesday in order to engage with local companies on a one-to-one basis, before travelling to Kuwait on the second leg of their mission.
At Monday’s forum, Jaffer said there was a new market for small businesses and emerging exporters to do business in Saudi Arabia. He said this could be in the form of co-operatives collectively supplying the volumes required for the Saudi market.
“Saudi Arabia is an economic leader in the Middle East, and is constantly growing in different sectors, which then make it more attractive to invest in,” Jaffer said in a statement issued by the DTI. “There are great opportunities for South African businesses to look into and invest in different projects, especially the current Saudi government infrastructure programme.”
The recent Infrastructure and Projects Forum held in Riyadh had detailed various projects and opportunities currently available in Saudi Arabia, Jaffer said, also citing agro-processing, agriculture, high-end manufacturing, safety and security, and mining exploration as some of the sectors that could be explored in the country.
“Our trade relations with the country is also growing, and platforms such as the outward selling mission make it possible for us to be in constant contact with our government counterparts and expand on trade issues.”
According to the DTI, Saudi Arabia is South Africa’s largest trading partner and second-largest export destination in the Gulf region. In 2012, total bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to R61.7-billion.
SAinfo reporter and Department of Trade and Industry