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  • Bilateral Economic relations: The relation between South Africa and the United Arab Emirates has a strong economic focus, and the UAE has become one of the main importing partners within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for South Africa.
  • As Many South African companies are benefitting from opportunities in the UAE in a variety of sectors and the UAE is the 24th largest market for South African products.
  • South Africa and the UAE, which is characterized by the exchange of several high-level visits, a high level of trade and economic interaction, multiple daily flights between the UAE and three South African cities as well as a large number of South Africans including nurses, construction workers and others live and work in the UAE.
  • Import and Export: The United Arab Emirates and South Africa have enjoyed a close commercial relationship since 1994. Overall trade between the two countries has been growing each year.
  • The UAE is one of South Africa's lucrative markets in the Arabian Gulf and current statistics show that trade between South Africa and the UAE, especially gold exports from South Africa, is gaining momentum. Apart from gold, South Africa is also a major exporter of steel to the UAE and South African construction, consultancy and service sectors are also playing a good role in the rapid development of the UAE
  • UAE exports to SA are oil-related products, machinery, transportation equipment, consumer electronics, home appliances, ball bearings, computer accessories and textiles. In the reverse direction, major South African exports to the UAE comprise base metals and allied products, steel for both construction and general engineering, machinery, electronics equipment, minerals; defense equipment; chemicals, plastic goods and foodstuff. 
  • Trade: Growing trade ties between the United Arab Emirates and South Africa have resulted in the formation of the South African Business Group in the UAE with the objective of promoting business between the two countries. The Group aims at helping both UAE and South African business men establish useful contacts and increase bi-lateral trade. Trade, which is such a major contributor to the UAE’s economy, is one area where we see potential. 
  • At present, South Africa is the UAE’s 35th largest trade partner. Accelerated total trade momentum between the two countries and a total of 14 FDI projects from the UAE were recorded representing almost R3 billion. 
  • Major South African exports to the UAE include base metals and allied products, foodstuff such as fruit and vegetables, steel for construction and general engineering, machinery, electronics, minerals, defense equipment, chemicals and plastic goods, while 70 per cent of South Africa's imports from the UAE consist of crude oil. 
  • A recent important development was the takeover of the Al Noor Hospital Group by Mediclinic of South Africa in 2016. Making Mediclinic International became the largest private healthcare company in the UAE, providing about 55 per cent of total private health care. Mediclinic now operates 5 hospitals and 38 clinics with more than 600 inpatient beds in the UAE.
  • The Middle East holds a special attraction for South African businessmen because of its huge domestic market and as a connecting point to bigger markets beyond. With increased trade activity between the two countries, more and more South Africans are realizing the immense potential of the UAE market not only as a regional hub of trade and commerce but also as the biggest re-export center in the Middle East. 
  • The country’s booming economy, excellent infrastructural facilities and strategic location are some of the main incentives that are attracting an increasing number of South African business people to the UAE.
  • Tax-free income and a reliable and efficient banking system offered by the UAE further add to this attraction. Investment: In addition to direct trade, there is heightened interest from UAE businesses interested in investing in both commercial and residential property, especially in the Cape area. 
  • The cross-investment culture between South Africa and the UAE is gaining momentum and must be encouraged. About 17 FDI projects were recorded as investments into South Africa from the UAE, representing a total capital investment of Dh600 million. South Africa is also a significant investor in the UAE. 27 FDI projects from South Africa to the UAE were recorded, representing a total capital investment of Dh1 billion. 
  • As the relationship between the two countries develops in scope and stature, plenty of opportunities are becoming available to South Africans as well as Emirati investors, entrepreneurs and holidaymakers. Given such a positive climate, the joint efforts of the UAE and South African governments and private sector organizations to create an ever-greater economic bond between the two countries are also expected to keep pace.
  • South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) hope to strengthen their R28 billion-trade relationship through investment in South Africa’s agricultural sector.
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