Pretoria – South Africa and Oman will increase cooperation to enhance trade relations.
At a business forum on Monday in Johannesburg, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and his Omani counterpart, Dr Ali Bin Masoud Al-Sunaidy, committed themselves to ensuring that the overall trade and investment relations between the two countries are amplified.
The Ministers are of the view that trade between the two countries has performed below potential.
Minister Davies said the business forum was an opportunity for both South African and Omani officials to work energetically to ensure that the untapped opportunities between the two countries are explored.
“There are a number of realities in the world that create a necessity for us to strengthen our relationship. My counterpart, Dr Ali Bin Masoud Al-Sunaidy, has briefed me on how Oman is reacting to the fall in the oil price and its objective to seek, diversify and strengthen other aspects of its economy.
“I was able to tell him that [South Africa], as a mineral exporter, is faced with the same challenge of the end of the commodity super cycle and are seeking to diversify our economy as well,” said Minister Davies.
Minister Davies urged South African businesspeople to take advantage of the opportunities that Oman presents.
“There are significant opportunities, particularly for agricultural and agro-processing industries, to cooperate on both sides.
“We are embarking on a gas industrialisation programme, which we think will open up opportunities… Oman has solid minerals and it’s now moving to exploit. We have pointed out that South African companies with an international footprint have expertise in mining, mining equipment and mining technology,” he said.
Dr Ali Bin Masoud Al-Sunaidy said Omani companies are looking to find long-term direct relationships with South African counterparts.
“There are areas in which South Africa has advanced as a country and we are keen to draw from that knowledge. We are at the beginning stages of expanding our mining sector and we feel there is a lot to learn from South Africa in that aspect. Minerals are going to be high on the agenda in our engagements going forward,” he said.
Total trade between the two countries remained fairly consistent over the last five years and stood at R5.9 billion in 2016, with Oman enjoying a trade surplus of R 4.7 billion, which is largely due to oil imports.
Dr Ali Bin Masoud Al-Sunaidy’s two-day ministerial visit will conclude with site visits to projects of economic opportunity around Johannesburg and Cape Town. – SAnews.gov.za
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