The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, will undertake an Official Visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Kuwait from 29 March to 1 April 2021.

Minister Pandor has accepted an invitation from her Saudi Arabian counterpart, His Highness Prince Faisal bin Farhan al Saud, to attend the inaugural meeting of the Bilateral Political Consultations between South Africa and Saudi Arabia on 29 March 2021 in Riyadh.

During her visit, the Minister will also meet with current and potential investors in the South African economy.

Following the successful State Visit of President Cyril Ramaphosa to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 12 July 2018, relations between the two countries have intensified significantly, with a strong focus on trade and investment.

Total trade between the two countries amounted to R40 billion in 2020.

Most recently, the Saudi private sector has invested over R15 billion in the renewable energy sector in the Northern Cape, as part of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Program. The growth in bilateral cooperation has also begun to open further opportunities for South African companies in the engineering, hospitality, as well as health care professions.

Following the visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Minister Pandor will proceed to the State of Kuwait, where she will meet with her counterpart, Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah on 1 April 2021 for bilateral discussions.

The two Ministers will also use the opportunity to sign the draft Agreement on Cooperation for the Establishment of a Joint Commission of Cooperation between South Africa and Kuwait. This Agreement will form the cornerstone of the creation of a bilateral mechanism that will further drive relations between the two countries towards a strategic partnership. The Minister will also meet with current and potential Kuwaiti investors, to encourage increased investments in the South African economy.

Kuwait maintains a positive role as an investor with significant investment through its Sovereign Wealth Fund (SFW) in South Africa’s capital and financial markets.

Despite the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, two-way trade between South Africa and Kuwait witnessed an increase from R1.4 billion in 2019 to R2 004 935 760 in 2020.

Minister Pandor will reiterate, to both countries – which play an important leadership role in the Middle East – South Africa’s commitment to continued cooperation and strengthening of bilateral political and economic relations.

Image: Dirco