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South Africa’s Ramaphosa Gets $10 Billion Investment Pledge from Saudi Arabia

In his Middle East investment drive, President Cyril Ramaphosa has been assured of a 10-billion-U.S.-dollar investment pledge from Saudi Arabia, the Presidency said on Friday.

The investment will be channeled primarily toward the energy sector to enhance energy security, create capacity and reduce cost in South Africa, presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko said after Ramaphosa concluded a one-day visit to Saudi Arabia and was proceeding to the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Arabia’s investment pledge was one of the most important highlights of Ramaphosa’s visit, Diko said.

“This commitment from the kingdom is a demonstration of confidence in our economy and gives further impetus to South Africa’s drive to raise 100 billion U.S. dollars in new investment over the next five years to create jobs and for development,” Diko quoted Ramaphosa as saying.

Earlier this year, Ramaphosa announced a plan to attract 100 billion U.S. dollars in foreign investment over five years. In April he appointed a team of special envoys to go on an charm offensive around the globe to attract investment.

Ramaphosa’s visit to the Middle East was seen as an effort by the South African government to increase oil import at a time when fuel prices have reached record high in South Africa, sparking discontent among South Africans.

In early July, Ramaphosa said his government is actively seeking ways to soften the blow the recent fuel price increases have had on consumers.

South Africa imports approximately 47 percent of its oil from Saudi Arabia and regards the country as a strategic partner in the Middle East.

Mr. Ramaphosa wraps up his Middle East trip this weekend with one final stop in the United Arab Emirates.

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