The bilateral trade volume between Qatar and South Africa stood at QR1.26bn ($347.4m) in 2018, which is expected to witness significant jump in the coming years as both the countries are in the process of establishing a direct shipping line between the iconic Hamad Port and South Africa’s deepest port facility near Cape Town, according to a senior diplomat.
The Ambassador of South Africa to Qatar, Faizel Moosa, while speaking to The Peninsula yesterday, said that concerned officials from both sides have accelerated the efforts to expand and deepen the level of trade and investment cooperation, and also to make the exchange of goods and services more smooth, balanced and sustainable for mutual interest.
“Transnet of South Africa is working with Milaha (Qatar Navigation) and other concerned parties to have shipping services between Hamad Port and Struis Bay port, the deepest port in our country which can receive any size of vessels,” Ambassador Moosa added.
“The port facility can be used to import, export and re-export of goods to other countries in Africa such as Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, and other landlocked nations in the continent.”
Qatar and South Africa have signed agreements in the past to expand cooperation in several promising areas, including agriculture, livestock and other sectors. Currently, Transnet SOC Ltd is in negotiation with Milaha to sign a final deal. The Johannesburg-headquartered Transnet is a very large and integrated South African rail, port and pipeline company which operates about eight ports and some 23,000km of rail network across the resource-rich African nation.
The ambassador was talking on the sidelines of a meeting between prominent Qatari businessmen and the visiting members of a trade delegation from South Africa. The 20-member trade mission was representing a wide range of sectors, including agriculture, IT, healthcare, and agro-based food industries and others. They explored trade and investment opportunities with their Qatari counterparts.
The Qatari side was presided over by the First Vice-Chairman of Qatar Chamber, Mohamed bin Ahmed bin Towar Al Kuwari, who noted that South Africa is an important trade partner to Qatar.
He also noted that there are many South African investments in Qatar especially in the energy sector, which is estimated $8.9bn.The South African trade delegation was headed by Harold Manamela, Deputy Director Export Promotion responsible for the Middle East Region within the Department of Trade and Industry.
The meeting was also attended by QC Board Member Mohamed bin Ahmed Al Obaidli and Saad Al Dabbagh, Chairman of Hafeet Group.
Al Kuwari stressed the private sector’s interest to identify investment opportunities available in South Africa, noting that South Africa is one of the strongest economies in Africa.
He also expressed Qatar’s welcome to South African investments, affirming that Qatar economy is open and full of investment opportunities that attract foreign investors.
He also said that the Qatari private sector strongly participates in projects being held in the country in education, health, transport and those are related to 2022 FIFA World Cup.
This opens the scope for foreign companies to forge more business and investments in Qatar and enables companies from South Africa to access to Qatari market and build genuine partnerships with their Qatari counterparts. On his part Harold Manamela said that the delegation comprises businessmen and senior executives representing many companies specialized in many industrial sectors, noting that Qatar is an important country to South Africa in the Middle East region.
He delivered a presentation titled “Investment and trade opportunities between Qatar and South Africa” which highlighted characteristics of South Africa’s economy and investment opportunities.
Ambassador Moosa, during his address, highlighted that Qatar and South Africa enjoy good relations, noting that their trade exchange is growing over the years.
He invited Qataris to invest in his country, especially that there are various Qatari investments in the African continent.