Governor of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) Eng. Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al-Ohali met in Jeddah Saturday with the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans of the Republic of South Africa Thandi Modise.
The meeting discussed the bonds of cooperation and partnership in the field of military industries between the two friendly countries, and the next action steps between the GAMI and the Armaments Corporation of South Africa (Armscor).
The meeting was attended by the CEO of Armaments Corporation of South Africa Solomzi Mbada and was held on the sidelines of South African President's current visit to the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) is the regulator, enabler and licensor of the Kingdom’s military industries Sector. GAMI’s focus is on localizing more than 50% of military expenditure by 2030, by building a sustainable domestic defense sector, in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
In a related development, the Saudi Ministry of Investment organized Thursday the Saudi-South African Investment Forum in Jeddah, which was attended by President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Minister of Investment Eng. Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih, Minister of Tourism, Ahmed bin Aqeel Al-Khateeb, Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar bin Ibrahim Al-Khorayef, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Competition in South Africa, Ebrahim Patel, and wide participation of government officials, the Federation of Saudi Chambers, representatives of the private sector and companies from both countries.
During the forum, 11 agreements and memoranda of understanding were signed in the government and private sectors in energy, water, green hydrogen, waste diversion, logistics, and aerial survey services, aimed at promoting the developing investment sectors between the two countries and between the Middle East and South Africa region, SPA reported.
In his address at the forum, the Minister of Investment praised the solid Saudi-South African relations, including the economic and trade cooperation spanning more than three decades, citing the Kingdom’s economic and competitive advantages, which is the largest economy in the Middle East and the Arab world, adding that the volume of the economy of this region is expected to exceed $1 trillion and that the Kingdom is growing at the fastest rate among the G-20 economies, as it enjoys a strategic location linking three continents, and has a coastline of 1,200 km along the Red Sea, through which about 15 percent of global trade travels.
Al-Falih explained that bilateral trade between the two countries is constantly growing, as it increased from $4.6 billion in 2019 to around $4.8 billion last year, and is expected to exceed $5.3 billion in 2022, reiterating the two countries’ ability to enhance these numbers to higher levels, by activating the great commercial and logistical capabilities of the Kingdom and South Africa.
He further underscored priority areas of cooperation between the Kingdom and South Africa, which include renewable and green energy, hydrogen and solar energy, mining, agriculture and food processing, industry, manufacturing, defense, and aerospace industries, tourism, communications, and information technology, stressing the importance of benefiting from the enormous potential of the two countries, given the fact that South Africa represents a major access point to the African continent, while the Kingdom is an important gateway to the broader Middle East and a link between East and West.
The forum’s agenda included sessions to discuss major projects in the Kingdom, and dialogue sessions in mining, industry, agriculture, food industries, tourism, energy, and renewable energy.