South Africa’s transport minister, Fikile Mbalula, has invited Qatari investors to explore the country’s investment climate, saying many sectors there are rife with opportunities for business and trade.
In a statement to Gulf Times, Mbalula said South Africa is eyeing to invite Qatari delegations to accompany HE the Minister of Transport Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti, whom he met during a working visit to Qatar recently.
“Indeed, we have vast opportunities for Qatari businesses to invest in and would like them to visit our country and explore partnerships with local businesses. We are looking for investments in the areas of aviation, maritime, rail, and broader transport infrastructure,” Mbalula pointed out.
Asked what other areas in the transport sector are viable for Qatari investments into South Africa, Mbalula said these sectors include aircraft maintenance; repair and overhaul; aerospace manufacturing and other civil aviation operations; and transport infrastructure, including rail, road, maritime, and aviation.
On potential projects or joint ventures that Qatar and South Africa could enter into or explore in the field of transportation, as well as in other sectors, Mbalula said: “We are looking at projects in the areas of improving competitiveness and efficiency at our ports; growing the aviation sector in the southern Africa region through collaboration and skills development programmes; human resource development; and innovation and technology.”
According to Mbalula, he has invited al-Sulaiti to visit South Africa in the coming period. “I have extended an invitation to His Excellency the Minister of Transport, Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti, to visit South Africa – an invitation that he has graciously accepted. We anticipate that this visit will take place before year-end,” Mbalula said.
During Mbalula’s working visit here, the South African transport minister held meetings with al-Sulaiti and other ministries, as well as other key organisations and officials in Qatar.
“There were no agreements signed during this visit. However, we have three agreements that are under consideration and should be signed as soon as relevant processes are finalised.
“These are the memorandum of understanding on transport-related matters and an agreement on co-operation in the field of maritime transport, as well as a memorandum of understanding on mutual recognition of certificates of competence for seafarers,” he explained.
He added: “My visit to Qatar is at the invitation of HE the Minister of Transport Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti. The objective of the visit is to discuss matters of mutual co-operation and deepen our bilateral relations.
“These relations between our respective countries date back to the dawn of democracy in South Africa in 1994. The growing bond between our respective nations was strengthened by the visits to Qatar by successive South African presidents from president Nelson Mandela, president Thabo Mbeki, to President Jacob Zuma.”