UAE, South Africa seek to boost trade and investment
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UAE, South Africa seek to boost trade ties in energy, tourism

UAE, South Africa seek to boost trade ties in energy, tourism

The country is the UAE’s second-largest trading partner in Africa, accounting for 8 per cent of total non-oil trade with the continent

Kudakwashe Muzoriwa
UAE Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi.

The UAE and South Africa plan to boost trade and investment opportunities and promote growth in key sectors such as logistics, food production, tourism and energy.

Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade said the country is eager to build partnerships with like-minded nations that can catalyse growth, strengthen supply chains and create new pathways for investment.

South Africa is the UAE’s second-largest trading partner in Africa, accounting for 8 per cent of the Gulf state’s total non-oil trade with the continent. Al Zeyoudi said the Sub-Saharan African country has the potential to become an important partner in the UAE’s efforts to boost non-oil trade with the entire continent.

“Our investment community understands the scale of the opportunity in front of us, and we are ready to work in unison to support new industry sectors, strengthen south-south trade corridors and push our bilateral trade well beyond the $6.5bn we recorded in 2022,” he said.

The visit by the UAE delegation, which was led by Dr Al Zeyoudi, included meetings between the representatives of each nation’s private sector.

Power company AMEA signed an agreement with South African energy buyer Green Co and Standard Bank to finance AMEA’s strategic investments to help the Sub-Saharan African nation meet its growing demand for electricity.

Representatives of Masdar, M42, ADNOC Group, DP World, AMEA Power, Infinity Power and Kanoo Group were part of the UAE delegation.

UAE boosts trade relations

Meanwhile, the visit by the UAE delegation to South Africa comes as the country is seeking to deepen trade ties with fast-growing economies as it remodels itself as a global hub for business and finance beyond the Middle East.

UAE and South Africa trade talksSince 2021, the country has signed four trade agreements – with India, Israel, Indonesia and Turkiye – and has launched preliminary comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) talks with others including South Korea, Ukraine and Vietnam.

The negotiations are expected to lay the foundation for building a significant platform to future-proof economic and trade relations.

The GCC country’s trade ambitions are in line with the ‘We the UAE Vision 2031’, which aims to double the national economy from Dhs1.49tn to Dhs3tn, increase national non-oil exports to Dhs800bn and raise the value of the country’s foreign trade to Dhs4tn by 2031

The country’s trade in goods with the rest of the world hit $1.024tn in 2022 as the share of both exports and imports increased on the back of higher crude oil prices, according to the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Global Trade Outlook and Statistics Report 2022.

Read: UAE’s global merchandise trade exceeds $1tn in 2022

UAE CEPA agreement

The development of the country’s economic legislation, which enabled full foreign ownership of companies and significantly enhanced the ease of doing business, is reinforcing the country’s position as a global hub for trade and investment.

The UAE signed off on a free trade pact with Turkey in March. The trade deal is expected to more than double bilateral trade volumes between the two countries to anywhere between $40bn and $45bn within the next five years.

Read: UAE, Vietnam to launch free trade talks

India also signed a wide-ranging economic pact with the UAE, which is aimed at boosting trade and investment in February 2022. India’s exports to the Emirates include petroleum products, precious metals, gems and jewellery, and food items.

The country also signed an economic pact with Indonesia in July 2022 as the two countries seek to boost bilateral trade to more than $10bn by 2030. The Southeast Asia country sees its exports climbing 54 per cent over the next 10 years, as the deal erases as much as 94 per cent of existing tariffs.

The Gulf state plans to finalise a deal with Ukraine and Colombia in the future.

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