ABU DHABI– South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has arrived in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the third and final leg of a tour which had earlier taken him to Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.

President Ramaphosa arrived here Friday at the invitation of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces of the UAE.

South Africa and the UAE have maintained sound bilateral and commercial relations since formal diplomatic ties were first established in 1994.

The year 2018 is a significant year in the history of both countries, as it marks the centenary celebrations in honour of the founding fathers of the two nations, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and Madiba, the late President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

The relationship between the two countries has a strong economic focus, with the UAE being South Africa’s main export market within the Gulf region and many South African companies are benefiting from opportunities in the UAE in various sectors.

A sharp increase has been witnessed over the last six years in total trade between South Africa and the UAE, with figures escalating from 6.0 billion Rand (about 451 million US dollars) in 2011 to 38.2 billion Rand in 2017, a positive trajectory of the potential for enhancing trade between the two countries.

The UAE will be an important partner for South Africa in achieving the goal of attracting more investments into the country. President Ramaphosa used the opportunity of the State visit in the UAE to invite business and government delegations from the UAE to the Investment Summit to be held later this year.

He returned to South Africa later Friday.