Johannesburg – (ADV) – South Africa- Energy minister Jeff Radebe says South Africa on Thursday signed a R12-billion renewable energy deal with a Saudi Arabia company as part of $10-billion investment agreement. Radebe is part of the delegation accompanying President Cyril Ramaphosa on an international visit which will see him visiting three countries in four days: Nigeria‚ Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Ramaphosa has already spent two days in Nigeria‚ after which he left for Saudi Arabia. He is due to meet Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan‚ Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi‚ on Friday in the UAE. Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko confirmed that‚ during his visit‚ the president had managed to secure a $10-billion (about R132.8-billion) investment in Saudi Arabia‚ a commitment which will be a boost to his goal of attracting $100-billion. “It’s a fantastic commitment from Saudi Arabia‚ especially coming in the aftermath of the president’s call to have $100-billion of investment in the next five years‚” said Radebe. He said the Saudi Arabia energy minister‚ Khalid al-Falih‚ was deeply committed to cooperating with South Africa in the energy sector.
“As a result of that‚ already we have signed a big deal on the renewable side of R12-billion with Redstone and ACWA‚ which is a Saudi Arabian energy company‚ in partnership with the Central Energy Fund for renewable in terms of solar and wind‚” said Radebe.
Radebe said the two nations were also committed to cooperate in the defence sector.
Soaring Oil prices
The government has also urged Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s largest oil producers, to increase production in a bid to contain soaring fuel prices.
On Thursday President Ramaphosa met with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. The meeting comes amidst growing anger in South Africa over increased petrol prices, which topped R16 per litre for the first time in inland areas this month. Energy minster Jeff Radebe confirmed that oil prices were part of the high level talks.
“It has a very important bearing on the price of oil. That is why we are looking to oil-producing countries to put more oil in the market so that the price of oil can go down, so that we can be able to mitigate against the negative impact of the hike of fuel prices in South Africa,” Radebe said.
South Africa’s record petrol price has been caused by the combination of a weaker rand, higher global oil prices, and higher fuel taxes. A year ago benchmark Brent Crude was about $47 per barrel. On Thursday afternoon it was trading at $74.22 per barrel. South Africa imports 47% of its oil from Saudi Arabia.
© Bur-csa – Nomsa Mdhluli – ADV