The Saudi Arabia South Africa Business Council (SASABC) was established by Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and the Saudi Chambers of Commerce. The council was created to improve two-way trade and investment relations between South Africa and the Middle Eastern economic powerhouse.
Bilateral relations between South Africa and Saudi Arabia are conducted within the framework of the Joint Economic Commission, established in 1995, which held its 7th session in March 2016, in Cape Town.
The South African government remains committed to the achievement of five key priorities to transform the lives of South Africans, which include:
- Creation of decent work and sustainable livelihood;
- Fighting against crime and corruption;
- Health; and
- Rural development, food security and land reform.
The South African Government has adopted the National Development Plan (NDP), Vision 2030 which has been translated into a five year plan with the objective of dealing with the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
These plans also correspond with Saudi Arabia’s National Transformation Plans, which provide many opportunities for bilateral cooperation.
The Nine Point Plan entails the following important focus areas:
- Working to resolve the energy challenge through a mix of energy sources that include solar, coal, nuclear and other sources.
- Focusing on enhancing the agricultural value chain – building the infrastructure that will develop agrarian resources and consequently will benefit some of the poorest communities in South Africa.
- Another important component of the plan is mineral beneficiation. In this regard, the beneficiation of titanium, platinum and other ferrous metals is prioritised.
- Through the on-going development of South Africa’s Industrial Policy Action Plan, the government will continue to prioritise the development and expansion of industries such as ICT, Energy, Transportation, Oil, Gas, Water and Sanitation.
- Interventions in all the economic areas are aimed at boosting private sector investment.
- Labour, in conjunction with the private sector and government, is committed to addressing and moderating work place conflict, thereby creating an enabling environment for business in South Africa. The objective is to ensure stability in the South African labour market.
- The Department of Small Business Development was established to develop and strengthen the potential of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) in townships and rural areas.
- The reform of state-owned companies, broad band rollout, water and sanitation, science and technology and development of transport infrastructure are other key focus areas.
- Lastly, the plan includes unlocking the ocean economy through Operation Phakisa focusing on the following four areas: marine transport and manufacturing, off-shore oil and gas exploration, aquaculture and marine protection services and ocean governance.