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United Arab Emirates’ Ambassador to South Africa Mahash Saeed Salem Mahash Alhameli and Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Dr Naledi Pandor at the 25-year celebrations of diplomatic relations, in Pretoria on Tuesday
Also at the event was Yussuf (Joe) Suliman of Laudium pictured with MEC Tasneem Motara and MEC Kgosientso 'Sputla' Ramokgopsa. Haroon Noormohamed Gooma also spotted seated next to the Ambassador of Georgia to South Africa, Mr Bela Dvali
International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor has hailed the growing strong diplomatic, trade and economic relations between South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a historic partnership built on a firm foundation laid by the close ties of friendship and trust enjoyed by the founding fathers of the two nations - the late former president Nelson Mandela and Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The prestigious celebration marking the 25th anniversary of South Africa and UAE diplomatic relations drew hundreds of senior government officials from both nations, ambassadors and high commissioners to the packed Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria on Tuesday night.
"I am truly honoured and grateful to share this evening with Your Excellency [Ambassador Mahash Saeed Alhameli], and the distinguished guests as we celebrate 25 years of the fruitful relations between South Africa and the United Arab Emirates," Pandor said while addressing the gathering.
She saluted the UAE for opening itself to South Africa as a strategic export market in the Gulf region, thereby creating space for Pretoria to trade and establish partnerships that have elevated the bilateral economic partnership to a new high.
"Total trade between our two countries stood at about R507 million in 1995. The period that followed witnessed rapid growth between our two sides. As of 2018, our total bilateral trade stood at R44. 5 billion. This growth in bilateral trade relations is a result of the firm and unwavering support provided by the leadership of the two sides," she said.
"We are appreciative of the confidence your country has in South Africa. The presence and growth of UAE companies in this country is reflective of the positive growth trajectory that our own companies are enjoying in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. We have about 200 registered South African companies in the UAE, ranging from construction, finance and IT services, to hospitality, retail and trading. Some of our notable companies operating in the banking and construction sector – such as Standard Bank, First Rand, Nedbank Private Wealth and Group 5 – have a presence in your country."
She said, on the other hand, UAE investment presence in South Africa was equally significant.
- African News Agency (ANA)
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