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  • Mutual visits: South Africa and the UAE have exchanged several high-level and ministerial visits. The late, former South African President, Nelson Mandela, attended the summit meeting of the Gulf Co-operation Council in Abu Dhabi in November 1998 and addressed the Emirates International Forum in Dubai in February 2000. 
  • Former President Thabo Mbeki also visited the UAE in March 2000. The South African Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Industry and Defense and the Deputy Minister of communications have visited the UAE for discussions that further cemented bilateral relations.
  • In an attempt to further explore and expand, bilateral economic relations, a range of provincial visits from South Africa, often led by Premiers, have taken place, particularly since November 2006. In that month, Premier Rasool led a government and business delegation from the Western Cape to the UAE. In addition, in November 2006, Premier Marshoff of the Free State and Premier Shilowa of Gauteng led separate government delegations to the UAE. 
  • These visits enabled the visiting delegations to learn more about the UAE and introduce a range of trade and investment opportunities in their provinces and the rest of the country. In July 2007, Premier Peters of the Northern Cape visited the UAE with a strong government and business delegation. This successful visit was followed by two more equally successful provincial visits in November. 
  • Premier Moloto from Limpopo, accompanied by a government and business delegation, explored trade and investment opportunities. Premier Balindlela from the Eastern Cape, accompanied by a strong government delegation, investigated infrastructure development and investment opportunities. All of these visits have generated positive spin-offs with follow-up visits planned. 
  • On the 04 June 2009, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane hosted the United Arab Emirates Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al- Nahyan during his visit in Cape Town. Minister Nkoana-Mashabane met Minister Al Nahyan within the context of strengthening bilateral political, economic and trade relations between South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. 

Engagements between Ministers Nkoana-Mashabane and Al-Nahyan included, among others things: 

- The status of bilateral political and economic relations between the two countries

- Developments in Africa and South Africa 

- Developments in the Middle East 

- Support for the 2010 FIFA World Cup to be hosted by South Africa 

  • On the 14 November 2011, President Jacob Zuma was on an official visit to the UAE. His state visit was aimed at identifying greater investment opportunities. Ministers from both countries were directed to work out roadmaps for enhancing trade relations between the two nations during the visit.
  • The talks dealt with the means of further developing the standing relations and cooperation between UAE and South Africa. They also exchanged views on current developments on the regional and international levels and issues of common concern. 
  • The President of UAE, The late H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, asserted UAE’s keenness to strengthen relations with South Africa and benefit from its experience in the field of development and emphasized the country’s interest in the transfer of the economic knowledge South Africa has achieved in the fields of technology and industry through joint investment projects.
  • In 2016 President Zuma was accompanied in his Working Visit by Ms Maite NkoanaMashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation; Mr David Mahlobo, Minister of State Security; Dr Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry; Mr Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Home Affairs and Mr Nathi Nhleko, Minister of Police. 
  • During the visit president, Jacob Zuma stressed the importance of creating a platform to enhance Business-to Business cooperation in order to increase South African exports to the UAE market and attract UAE investors to South Africa. 
  • The Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, who accompanied the President on this trip told the SA-UAE Business Forum in Dubai hosted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, that South Africa had invested R3.33-billion in the United Arab Emirates since 2003, making the country the 19th largest investor in the UAE. 
  • This business forum was intended to firm up relations between the two countries and continue discussions to establish a roadmap for mutual investment. Davies also announced that the South African Government, through the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, had proposed a protocol agreement for the direct export of horses from South Africa to UAE.
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