Tuesday 29 November 2022 - 5:30:11 am

South Africa-UAE trade bouncing back to pre-COVID growth trajectory: Ambassador

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By Binsal Abdulkader ABU DHABI, 11th November, 2021 (WAM) -- South Africa-UAE bilateral trade is bouncing back to the pre-COVID growth trajectory, as 2021 trade figures are set to exceed 2020’s, a top South African diplomat told Emirates News Agency (WAM).

"Our trade has grown tremendously despite COVID-19. The bilateral trade volumes during the first three quarters of 2021 [from January to September] have already covered around 84.15 percent of the total volumes during 2020. Therefore, we look forward to exceeding the 2020 trade figures significantly by the end of 2021," said Saa'd Cachalia, the South African Ambassador to the UAE.

He explained that the bilateral trade in 2020 stood at ZAR45.62 billion (AED10.91 billion) and the first three quarters of 2021 have already witnessed trade volumes worth ZAR38.39 billion (AED9.97 billion), which constituted 84.15 percent of the 2020 trade.

Pointing out the pre-pandemic upward trajectory between 2017-2019, Cachalia noted that bilateral trade of ZAR39.55 billion (AED9.45 billion) in 2017 grew 12.69 percent to ZAR44.57 billion (AED10.67 billion) in 2018, then further jumped 23.36 percent to ZAR54.98 billion (AED13.17 billion) in 2019.

Although there was a drop in trade to ZAR45.62 billion (AED10.94 billion) in 2020 due to the global pandemic, the positive trend in the first three quarters of 2021 has proved the resilience of the South Africa-UAE economic relations, the envoy explained.

The exports and imports between both countries include precious metals, iron, steel and mineral products, prepared food stuffs, chemicals, machinery, aircraft and vessels, live animals, plastic, rubber and textiles. Oil is a major import product for South Africa from the UAE.

"Our bilateral relations have been consistently growing. We support one another on many issues. We collaborate on different matters in international arena, including the issues around climate change," the Ambassador said.

The Expo 2020 Dubai has opened more opportunities that will further strengthen the robust bilateral relations, he noted.

"It is an ideal opportunity for us to start reconnecting with not only the UAE but the entire world. The Expo has brought in many nations to the UAE, and we have an ideal opportunity to start meeting people from different parts of the world after the pandemic."

Talking about people-to-people relations, the envoy said around 100,000 South Africans living in the UAE. "They are involved in almost all sectors in the UAE, such as services, finance, engineering, manufacturing and many more."

WAM/ Ibrahim Shukralla

WAM/Binsal AbdulKader