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South Africa and Qatar explore investment opportunities

12 April 2017

Pretoria - The President of the Black Business Council, Dr Danisa Baloyi, says South Africa should take advantage of the economic opportunities presented by the State of Qatar, especially in agriculture and the ocean economy.

Speaking to SAnews at the South Africa-Qatar Business Forum held in Pretoria, Baloyi said because South Africa has been faced with the challenge of unemployment for years, it should take advantage of opportunities that will help to create more jobs.

She said some of the skills that Qatar will give to South Africa include ship building, ship maintenance and overall ship engineering.

“Investment is not only about injecting money in the country, but it is about skills development and ensuring that our young people are employed in sustainable jobs, not temporary jobs,” said Baloyi.

She said Qatar has indicated that it is interested in South Africa’s technology, especially in the energy sector, although there is a lot that South Africa needs to learn from Qatar about energy as well.

“They are also interested in mining. They have done a lot in water, and they believe that South Africa is a bit advanced in water related activities,” said Baloyi.

South Africa has been implementing Operation Phakisa for the Ocean Economy for over two years now. It is an initiative that aims to unlock the economic potential of South Africa’s oceans.

According to government, South Africa’s oceans have the potential to grow from the current R54 billion to between R129 billion to R177 billion by 2033 and increase the number of jobs from 316 000 to just over one million.

Baloyi said partnerships such as the one the country has with Qatar increase the chances of realising this goal.

The Secretary General of the Qatar Business Council, Mohammed Bin Ahmed M. Al Obaidly, told SAnews his delegation was impressed by how South Africa presented investment opportunities to Qatar.

“We are not only looking into doing business and benefiting the private sector, but we are also looking at exchanging skills development programmes. South African companies have good technologies in petrochemicals and other things, so we are looking into strengthening our partnerships in that field as well.

“We have the right infrastructure as business in Qatar. We want to expand outside our territory and we have seen opportunities in South Africa. We are also expecting the South African delegation to come through to our country to look for opportunities they might want to invest in,” said Al Obaidly.

An area of interest for South African investment, Al Obaidly said, is facility management.

“We have good facility management [at] our airports, railways, traffic, water and sanitation [sectors]. There is a lot [the South African delegation] can learn from us,” he said.

Diplomatic relations between South Africa and the State of Qatar were established in 1994.

South Africa’s exports to Qatar have maintained a consistent increase from 2011 to 2015, reflected by a positive 11.9%annual growth in 2015 and 46.08% average annual growth from 2011 to 2015. - SAnews.gov.za


Qatar lauds SA on renewable energy policy

South Africa’s renewable energy policy was lauded at the business forum between South Africa and Qatar.

“South Africa’s renewable power policy is impressive and ambitious. I commend the policy for not only the ambition but the credibility that lies behind it. I admire South Africans and the mention of natural gas in the renewable energy policy even though natural gas is not a renewable energy source,” Fahd Al Kuwari told SAnews on the sidelines of the meeting held in Pretoria.

Al Kuwari is a senior energy policy analyst at the Qatari Ministry of Energy. The policy analyst formed part of the Qatari delegation that is in South Africa on a two day State Visit.

President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday hosted the Emir of the State of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, The Emir is on a two-day state visit to South Africa

South Africa’s National Development Plan has stressed the importance of a greater mix of energy sources and a greater diversity of independent power producers (IPPs) in South Africa’s energy mix.

This has been made a reality through the Department of Energy’s Renewable Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPP).

The renewables programme, which is seen as an example for other African countries, has resulted in over 6 000 MW of generation capacity being allocated to bidders across a variety of technologies, principally in wind and solar.

In November 2016, power utility Eskom said it had spent approximately R9.5 billion in IPP renewable energy, while some 2 000 megawatts is already connected to the grid.

REIPPP is aimed at bringing additional megawatts onto the country’s electricity system through private sector investment in wind, biomass and small hydro, among others.

“You have diversified your energy supply, you’ve diversified the electricity grid and you’ve managed to maintain a sense of environmental consciousness by allowing private companies to enter the market and distribute renewable energy. From a Gulf perspective, from an energy perspective I commend South Africa for what it has achieved,” said Al Kawari.

Qatar, which established diplomatic relations with South Africa formally on 10 May 1994, has massive oil and gas reserves. The country is looking to deepen its relations with South Africa.

Al Kuwari stressed that natural gas and renewable energy go together.

“What we can learn from South Africa is how to distribute and effectively diversify our energy supply especially in electricity generation. What South Africa can benefit from Qatar is that we are the largest natural gas exporter in the world."

Meanwhile, Acting Head of Invest SA, Yunus Hoosen, said the business forum was a success.

“We charted a way forward where some of our policies were highlighted for example the renewable energy policy,” he said. - SAnews.gov.za

 


 
 
 
 

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