International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane arrived in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, today (30 August 2015), to co-chair the Inaugural South Africa-United Arab Emirates Joint Commission.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane’s delegation includes officials from the Departments of International Relations and Cooperation, Trade and Industry, Energy, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Economic Development.
The Joint Commission will provide the two countries the opportunity to review bilateral relations and deliberate on proposals for enhanced and new areas of cooperation. The launch of the SA-UAE Joint Commission follows the conclusion of the Agreement on the Establishment of a Joint Commission during the State Visit to the UAE by His Excellency President Jacob Zuma in 2011.
South Africa and the UAE have maintained a good relationship since formal diplomatic ties were first established in 1994. The relationship has a strong economic focus, and the UAE is already a lucrative export market for South African products. Many South African companies are active in the UAE in a variety of sectors.
There has been a sharp increase in total trade between South Africa and the UAE, with exports to the UAE increasing by over R4 billion year-on-year in 2014, whilst imports from the UAE year-on-year also increased by over R4 billion. This is a positive trajectory of the potential for enhancing trade between the two countries.
It is expected that the two delegations will also exchange views on recent political developments in the Middle East and Africa.