The Deputy Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Candith Mashego-Dlamini, hosted her Qatari Counterpart, Dr Ahmed Hassen Al-Hammadi, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, on Thursday, 7 October 2021 in Pretoria.
During the meeting, areas of mutual interest were discussed, as well as the strengthening of bilateral political and economic relations. The meeting took place in the greater context of preparing for the South Africa-Qatar Bilateral Consultations that are scheduled to be held at Ministerial level in 2022.
The discussions between Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini and Dr Al-Hammadi focused on current and potential areas of cooperation that exists between South Africa and Qatar.
The areas of mutual interest included tourism; trade, infrastructure; transport; and renewable energy. The two delegations also touched on regional and multilateral areas of common interest.
Diplomatic relations between South Africa and the State of Qatar were established on 10 May 1994. Since then, relations have continued to prosper with many high-level visits having taken place since then.
President Ramaphosa participated at the 2021 Qatar Economic Forum at the invitation of his Qatari counterpart, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The Forum provided a valuable platform for the President to showcase potential investment opportunities in South Africa to a wide and influential audience.
Qatar remains a key partner in terms of advancing the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan of South Africa (ERRP). The country is South Africa’s 10th largest trading partner in the Middle East in terms of exports and 5th largest trading partner in terms of imports.
The main commodities South Africa imports from Qatar are mineral products, chemicals and plastic products.
South Africa exports to Qatar – machinery and mechanical appliances, base metals and chemicals.
Trade figures in 2020 amounted to just more than R2.9 billion. In October 2020, Qatar Petroleum announced a second gas discovery in South Africa’s Luiperd prospect. It is located adjacent to the Brulpadda prospect which was identified in February 2019, as an important gas condensate discovery. Various development options are currently being evaluated to commercialise these findings.
These positive developments will help bolster South Africa’s energy mix and develop adequate generation capacity to meet the demand for electricity, under both the current low-growth economic environment as well as when the economy improves, with the objective of aiding long-term energy security for the country.
Photos: Yandisa Monakali (DIRCO)