Speech by Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Dubai, 12 June 2023

Speech by Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Dubai, 12 June 2023


Ambassador Saa’d Cachalia,

Consul General Andrew Tsepo Lebona, Consul General,

Mr Khalid Al Ali Director: International Relations: Africa-Dubai Chamber of Commerce,

Business Leaders and Representatives from the United Arab Emirates and South Africa,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the President of the Dubai Chambers, Mr Mohammed Rashid Loota, for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to me and my delegation. It is indeed always exciting to visit Dubai as its achievements in the areas of commerce and innovation tower literally over many other cities of the world. Dubai is a recognised barometer for new excellence and achievements in urban spatial development.


South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) share a cordial bilateral relationship augmented by several high-level visits since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1994. Our bilateral economic relations continue to grow at a positive pace, primarily focusing on economic and commercial growth. We will celebrate the 30th anniversary of establishing our bilateral relations in 2024 and we will then reflect on all the milestones we have achieved over these three decades.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


To demonstrate the significance and strength of our bilateral relations, we have a structured bilateral mechanism known as the SA-UAE Joint Commission Cooperation (JC). This was established in 2011 and already had two meetings. Tomorrow we will have the 3rd Session of the JC in Abu Dhabi.


Our economic recovery efforts have been guided by the implementation of our national Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. Currently we are making sound progress in our recovery and our GDP has recovered from the heavy blow to economic output. Research by our leading university in Cape Town shows that 95% of jobs in the formal sector have now been recovered.


At the recent 5th South African Investment Conference in South Africa in April this year, President Ramaphosa called on international investors to upscale investments in South Africa, to address the triple challenges relating to job creation, poverty and inequality. We have exceeded our previous five-year target for investment, with R1,5 trillion in new investments announced over the past five years. The next five-year plan, which the President announced, aims to raise R2 trillion. The next Investment Conference to report against the new target will be convened by March 2024. South Africa remains an investment destination with significant untapped and investment potential and opportunities.


South Africa is therefore ready and eager to explore the various available business opportunities and investments, working together with our respective business communities to accelerate economic growth.


We are looking forward to growing our economy with the UAE in the following sectors:


  • in the Medical value-chain, with medical devices, vaccines, cannabis for medical treatment and other products
  • in the Green value-chain: with solar and wind energy components, battery manufacturing and electric vehicles
  • in the Digital value-chain: with artificial intelligence applications, 3-D printing, higher-end call centres and in attracting digital migrants
  • in the Food value-chain, covering fruit, meat, nuts, oils and processed products.


Public-private partnerships remain key to address challenges relating to the Just Energy Transition in South Africa. Masdar and its subsidiary Infinity Power agreed with the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) to form a joint Working Group for Energy, Renewables and Transmission to facilitate the sharing of solutions and proposals between the parties.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


The UAE is South Africa’s largest market in the Middle East. Current statistics show that trade between South Africa and the UAE, is gaining momentum. Non-oil foreign trade between the UAE and South Africa amounted to 6.5 billion US Dollar in 2022.  South Africa is the UAE’s second-largest trading partner in Africa. South Africa hopes that the UAE will also use the opportunities created by the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) to boost its economic and trade relations with Africa.


South African companies enjoy a favourable reputation in the UAE. Between January 2003 and January 2022, a total of 35 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects were recorded, with a total capital investment of R10.11 billion. To improve and strengthen economic ties between our two countries, we must re-double our efforts to promote industrialisation and shared prosperity between our two countries.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


Our business communities need to share lessons and knowledge about business environments. When our Chambers of Commerce work together, investment and trade will increase. I am pleased to hear that the Dubai Chamber will lead a delegation of the UAE business community to South Africa, to participate at the South Africa International Trade Exhibition (SAITEX) this month. We welcome their participation and hope that they will establish an office in South Africa.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


The South African government is aware of the challenges faced by the business community when it comes to visa requirements. We are working on reforming various areas to promote ease of doing business.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


In conclusion, may I confirm that we remain fully committed to supporting the various business establishment on their trade and investment initiative into South Africa.


Thank You.




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