South Africa is seeking support from Saudi Arabia to help its domestic energy challenges, says Ebrahim Patel, the minister of trade and industry of South Africa.
Speaking at the 9th session of the South Africa-Saudi Arabia Joint Economic Commission (JEC) in Pretoria this week, Patel understands there are enormous opportunity on the energy front to do deals with Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia has been investing in renewable energy as a significant part of moving away from an oil-based economy…the opportunity is in these discussions to try and see how South Africa can have and attract more investment from Saudi Arabia.”
Patel said that the biggest immediate challenge to international trade is South Africa’s energy supply, which requires to be improved on. He added some Saudi Arabian firms are already in negotiations in regard to renewables.
South Africa’s national power utility Eskom has plagued the nation with rolling blackouts, disrupting business and livelihoods. According to the popular load shedding notification app, EskomSePush, as of the start of this week ( October 3), the country has experienced the equivalent of 81 days of national load shedding so far this year.
Patel said South Africa’s major offerings to the middle eastern country include vast quantities of citrus and other agricultural goods alongside automobiles, of which the country is a large exporter.
South Africa’s export to Saudi Arabia is about R5.5 billion, while imports reach R60 billion. The government would like Saudi Arabia to join in the $65 billion of foreign investment that flows into the country.
Saudi Minister of Energy Akram Jadawi said the region is also considering exploring gas. He said it will continue deliberating with South Africa in order to resuscitate its energy sector.
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