JEDDAH, President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has concluded his working visit to Nigeria, will continue with his three-nation visit which will now take him to Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

During his visit in Saudi Arabia, President Ramaphosa is scheduled to meet with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, in Jeddah on Thursday to boost bilateral trade and attract investments.

The purpose of the State visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is to assess the status of bilateral relations, whilst focusing primarily on strengthening economic linkages between South Africa and Saudi Arabia, particularly in terms of increasing inward investment and diversifying the trade relationship, according to the the Presidency Wednesday.

TheSstate visit will also present an opportunity for South Africa to step up co-operation with Saudi Arabia in light of the Kingdom’s new strategy for Africa. South Africa currently imports approximately 47 per cent of its oil from the Arab country and regards it as a strategic partner in the Middle East.

The Kingdom is also a large investor in South Africa, especially in the area of renewable energy. Total bilateral trade amounted to just more than 55 billion Rand (about 4.06 billion US dollars) in 2017.

After the State visit to Saudi Arabia, President Ramaphosa will proceed to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Friday to meet Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces of the UAE.

The UAE will be an important partner for South Africa in achieving the goal of attracting more investments into the country. The President will also use the opportunity to discuss the upcoming Investment Summit and invite business and government delegations from both countries to the Summit, the Presidency said.

South Africa and the UAE have maintained sound bilateral and commercial relations since formal diplomatic ties were first established in 1994. The relationship has a strong economic focus, with the UAE being South Africa’s main importing partner within the Gulf region.

According to the Presidency, the UAE is growing as a lucrative export market for South African products and services, while many South African companies are benefitting from opportunities in the UAE in various sectors.

A sharp increase in bilateral trade has been witnessed over the last six years, from 6.0 billion Rand in 2011 to 38.2 billion Rand in 2017, a positive trajectory of the potential for enhancing trade between the two countries.

On Wednesday, President Ramaphosa concluded his working visit to Nigeria where he participated in the 2018 Annual Meeting and the 25th Anniversary Celebrations of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).