South Africa and Mauritania are to establish a joint trade and investment committee following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two countries.
Trade and Industry Minister, Dr Rob Davies, together with Mauritanian Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Naha Mint Hamdi Ould Mouknass, on Friday signed the MoU on economic cooperation.
Minister Davies said the significance of the agreement will create a framework to build on the fairly modest economic relations between the two countries.
“We have been cooperating — particularly when the President of Mauritania was the chair of the African Union (AU) — on a lot of AU business and we have cordial relations but in the area of the economy, our relations are not particularly g,” said the Minister.
South Africa’s trade relationship with Mauritania is at about R400 million and is characterised by a big imbalance in favour of South Africa.
“We do supply quite a number of value added products to Mauritania such as fruit and other products go via Europe, which … tells us of the challenges that we have.
“Promoting intra-African trade is one of our key objectives and we are mindful of the fact that we will be launching the negotiations for the continental Free Trade Area in South Africa at the AU Summit next month,” said Minister Davies.
South Africa wants to build and strengthen its relations with Mauritania, which bridges the Arab Maghreb and western sub-Saharan Africa region.
“We will establish a joint trade and investment committee. We don’t have any significant investment relations … at this point in time. There are opportunities in the mining sector in Mauritania. They also have agricultural (and) fishing potential,” said Minister Davies.
The Minister said the two countries need to get to know each other better and promote more business-to-business engagement.
Speaking through an interpreter Naha Mint Hamdi Ould Mouknaa, said strengthening relations between the two countries remains important.
“From our side, Mauritania will not spare any effort to execute the terms of this memorandum,” she said.
She also extended an official invitation to Minister Davies to visit Mauritania with a business delegation so the two sides can explore avenues for working together.
The invitation was accepted by Minister Davies.
Source : SAnews.gov.za