Emirates a key KZN partner — Mkhize

2010-09-09 00:00

AIMING to cement economic relations between KwaZulu-Natal and Arab nations, Premier Zweli Mkhize met the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to South Africa, Abba Omar, in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

Mkhize’s spokesperson, Ndabezinhle Sibiya, said yesterday’s meeting is a follow-up to a series of meetings Mkhize had with representatives from Arab nations when he was the MEC for Finance and Economic Development.

“Since the September 11, 2001, incident, when hijackers crashed two airliners into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York, investors from the UAE pulled away from the United States of America and started looking at South Africa as a destination for investment

“... various UAE trade delegations started visiting KwaZulu-Natal in order to explore possibilities of investing in sectors such as maritime, property development and leisure resorts.

“Smaller UAE business delegations and potential investors also visited the province on various occasions, seeking lucrative investment opportunities,” Sibya said.

KwaZulu-Natal does not have formal co-operation agreements with UAE, but the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Mike Mabuyakhulu, has in the past few months undertaken official visits there to engage with potential investors.

Commenting on yesterday’s meeting with Omar, Mkhize said: “As we seek to drive foreign direct investment and to build KwaZulu-Natal into a modernised province, UAE remains one of our key partners.”

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