Posted on May 21, 2016

The Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani and President of South Africa Jacob Zuma discussed ways to enhance bilateral ties in various fields, especially trade, economic and investment sectors, in Doha on Thursday. They also exchanged views on regional and international issues of common concern, particularly the latest developments on the Palestinian issue.

Following the meeting, the Emir and the South African President witnessed the signing of a defence cooperation agreement, a police cooperation agreement and another on cooperation in the fields of arts, culture and heritage between Qatar and South Africa. Talking to Qatar Tribune on the sidelines of a meeting between Zuma and members of Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA), South Africa's Investment Promotion Head Yunus Hoosen said South Africa is in talks with Qatar to secure a long-term LNG deal.

Currently, South Africa imports only crude oil from Qatar, Hoosen said, adding that an LNG deal will make trade ties between the two countries stronger."We also seek Qatari expertise and investment in monetising gas resources in South Africa," he said. Earlier addressing Qatari businessmen, Zuma said,"There is an immense scope to enhance trade volume between the two countries which is currently at $500 million." Urging Qatari businessmen to take advantage of the investment opportunities in his country, the president said many infrastructure and tourism projects need foreign investment. "Oil and gas industry is another area where Qatar can invest. Qatar has successfully monetised its oil and gas resources. We want you to do the same in South Africa," Zuma said.

He noted that the signing of an agreement between South Africa and Qatar to avoid double taxation and tax evasion is a vital confidence-building measure to enhance trade. He said the private sector can play a big role in increasing trade between the two countries. On efforts to increase South Africa's exports to Qatar, Zuma said his country is prepared to increase the exports of meat and food product to Qatar. He said a wide range of South African fruits, vegetable, beverages and other consumables have become sought-after across the world."We want Qatari private sector to invest in our agriculture sector and be part of South Africa's growth story," he said. Automobile sector is another area where investments will fetch high returns, he said.

Hailing Doha Bank for opening its office in South Africa, the president said it will go a long way in facilitating trade ties."We want more Qatari banks to enter our market," he said. QBA Chairman Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al Thani said a large delegation of Qatari businessmen will visit South Africa this year to look for business opportunities in the country. South African Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said South Africa's investments in Qatar have risen steadily, mostly in the LNG, infrastructure and the construction sector. He said many South African companies are expected to enter Qatar to share their expertise in successfully organising the 2022 FIFA World Cup.


source: Qatar Tribune