South Africa and UAE to cooperate in renewable energy

Jun 05, 2009 02:00 AM

South Africa and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to increase their trade relations, especially in the sector of renewable energy. Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane hosted her counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan during his visit in Cape Town.
"We believe there is an opportunity for us to work together in the renewable energy sector because it will help us in addressing the issues of unemployment, energy shortages and its affordability," said Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.

She said fresh produce and infrastructure development were other sectors the two ministers would like to explore. The pair met at the ministers office in Parliament, within the context of strengthening bilateral political, economic and trade relations between the two countries and developments in Africa and South Africa as well as the Middle East.
"The visit was aimed at further cementing the ties that we have," said Ms Nkoana-Mashabane, describing their relationship as "very good and fruitful" especially in terms of developing South Africa.

According to Ms Nkoana-Mashabane, the two countries had agreed that they would enhance their interaction at foreign ministerial level.
"We believe this will further enhance this very important relation we have."
The pair also held talks regarding how the United Arab Emirates can support South Africa in hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said he hoped that South Africa's plans and preparations in hosting a truly African soccer event would succeed.

"I have been seeing change in South Africa. I was here 15 years ago and I'm very pleased with the change I am seeing the country, especially the stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup which are almost done."
"We hope that the South Africa's plans and preparations are a success in hosting a truly African soccer event," said Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

The United Arab Emirates and SouthAfrica have enjoyed a close relationship since 1994, when the former Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed al Nahyan visited South Africa. This was followed by the opening of embassies in both capitals in 1995.
Both former Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki had visited the United Arab Emirates. The United Arab Emirates is the 24th largest market for South African products. It is a major investor in South Africa, the largest investment being Dubai World's acquisition of the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

There are some 210 South African companies with representative offices in the United Arab Emirates and many have been involved in major projects in the UAE. There is also a large South African expatriate community in that country.
The United Arab Emirates is one of South Africa's lucrative markets in the Gulf and current statistics show that trade between the countries, especially gold exports from South Africa, is gaining momentum. Apart from gold, South Africa is also a major exporter of steel to the emirates and South African construction, consultancy and service sectors are also playing a big role in the rapid development of the United Arab Emirates.

Major South African exports comprise base metals and allied products, steel for both construction and general engineering, machinery, electronics equipment, minerals; defence equipment; chemicals, plastic goods and foodstuff, while the United Arab Emirates exports include oil-related products, machinery, transportation equipment, consumer electronics among others.

Source / BuaNews
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