South Africa, which plans to increase its gas usage from 3% to 23%, is seeking Qatari investments to roll out its gas infrastructure plan for its energy requirements, ambassador Faizel Moosa has said.
Moosa accompanied a South African delegation whose members met with Qatar Chamber officials led by vice chairman Mohamed bin Towar al-Kuwari in a business meeting at the Chamber’s headquarters yesterday.
“We want to improve trade relations with Qatar, and this meeting with the Chamber is an opportunity for us to do that,” Moosa told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting.
Figures provided by the Chamber revealed that trade volume between Qatar and South Africa stood at QR361mn in 2017. Both al-Kuwari and Moosa agreed during the meeting that both countries have the potential to increase trade relations in sectors like food processing, agro-technology, automotive, construction, and energy, among others.
“We consider this country as a potential investor into South Africa, particularly in the oil and gas sectors where we will be increasing our gas usage from 3% to 23%, so we do believe that Qatar can play a big role to roll out our gas infrastructure for the energy requirement,” Moosa stressed.
The ambassador said while South Africa is getting its gas requirements from Mozambique, the country has plans to import LNG from Qatar.
“If we reach our gas target usage of 23%, I don’t think the gas supply would be enough, so we are going to engage with the LNG sector in Qatar to try and give us an allocation,” he pointed out.
Asked for a specific timeframe, Moosa told Gulf Times, “We first need to create the infrastructure that is why we are pushing on with the Qataris to come and set up some of the receiving terminals and then we will be able to import more LNG because at the moment the infrastructure is the big problem.”
He also said South Africa wants to “advance” the relationship between Sasol and Qatar Petroleum “to enable Qatar to come and invest,” noting that Qatar “does not have significant investments” in South Africa.
“They have invested in Africa but not significantly in South Africa, so we are trying to get them to understand that South Africa also offers a good haven for investments, so then they could get a good return on their investments.
“It is our intention to bring our Minister of Energy in the foreseeable future and to take a high profile business and government delegation from Qatar to South Africa. The invitation is already in the pipeline; we have already started the process to extend the invite to Qatar, and it will be arriving very soon,” Moosa said.
Aside from hydrocarbons, Moosa said there are investment opportunities for Qatar and South Africa in the mining sector.
“We have huge commodities and I think the opportunity is in the value add; in South Africa, we export all our commodities in raw form, and we see a lot of job creation and value add if we do the processing locally and export the finished product. And we’re hoping that we can attract Qataris to come and forge joint ventures with South African companies to set up those kinds of value add industries,” he added.
According to al-Kuwari, the Qatar Chamber is keen on encouraging Qataris to invest in South Africa “as it is an ideal investment destination for Qataris.”
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