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Dubai and South Africa have considerably increased their volume of bilateral investment in recent years, with the financial services sector being the largest recipient.
The state of investment was discussed at the recent South Africa-United Arab Emirates (UAE) Business Forum hosted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Dubai. The Forum was part of South African President Jacob Zuma’s official state visit in the Middle East Region.
It was attended by South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies and the South African Ambassador to the UAE, Yacoob Abba Omar. This business forum is intended to firm up relations between the two countries and continue discussions to establish a roadmap for mutual investment.
According to Davies, South Africa is the 19th largest investor in the UAE, having invested ZAR3.33bn (USD0.4bn) since 2003. He said that the largest investments were made in the financial services sector, followed by investments in the communications and pharmaceutical sectors. The majority of the investments were made in Dubai and the rest in Abu Dhabi.
In addition, the UAE is South Africa’s 24th largest investor, having invested ZAR1.07bn since 2003, representing 0.25% of total capital investment in the country. Investments have been made in the real estate, business services, transportation and warehousing and storage sectors.
Omar, in his welcoming address at the Forum, said: “It has been 19 years since the first South African trade organization held an exhibition of South African products in Dubai, this laid the foundations for the current strong relationship between the two countries”.
He added: “During today’s event we have seen that there continues to be strong avenues for growth between South Africa and our close trading partner the UAE, with which we hold a special economic, social and political relationship.”
Wrapping things up was the Senior Director of Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Atiq Juma Nassib, who said that the scope of the Forum’s discussion showed that there is great potential for new business opportunities between the two countries. In particular, he sees trade – a major contributor to Dubai’s economy – as an area of possible development.
“South Africa is Dubai’s 35th largest trade partner, with total imports, exports and re-exports last year worth AED5.47bn. This is something we would like to see increase and we urge traders in both countries to explore new markets and products with potential partners in the other,” Nassib said.
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