3 December 2013
Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane will lead a South African delegation to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this week for a series of meetings set up and hosted by Brand South Africa to promote the country as a globally competitive business destination.
The South African delegation will interact with Emirati business people, representatives of multinationals operating in the UAE and global South Africans based in the country over two days, starting on Wednesday.
Among the planned presentations, Transnet Rail CEO Siyabonga Gama will outline the state company’s R307-billion programme to expand South Africa’s rail, port and pipeline infrastructure, while Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal’s Neville Matjie will discuss the province’s investment plans and programmes.
Brand South Africa said last week that the sessions would focus on South Africa’s potential both as an investment destination and as a reliable partner in supporting development in the UAE.
“South Africans have contributed to the development of the United Arab Emirates in the construction, health and financial industries, among others,” Brand South Africa said in a statement, noting that the landmark Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai had been build by South African company Murray & Roberts.
According to the agency, the UAE is the 24th largest investor in South Africa and its largest trading partner in the Gulf region, with South African exports growing from Dh3.011-billion in 2009 to Dh3.055-billion in 2010, while non-oil exports from the UAE jumped from Dh1.26-billion to Dh2.41-billion.
There is a growing community of South African nationals in the UAE, stimulated in part by a growing demand for South African skills, and in part by the more than 135 South African companies that have a presence in the country.
According to Brand South Africa, the major areas for employment of South Africans in the UAE include construction, hospitality, financial, medical, retail management and education. South African restaurant brands, including Nando’s, Butcher Shop, Meat & Co, Mug & Bean and Debonairs Pizza, are also expanding into the UAE market.