Yemen & South Africa: New Partnership for Prosperity [Archives:1998/23/Business & Economy]

June 8 1998

Dr. Samuel Motsuenyane is the non-resident Ambassador of South Africa to Yemen. He has come with a team of experts from South Africa to look at various sectors of the economy and to see in which areas Yemen and South Africa can best cooperate.
Ismail Al-Ghabiry met Mr. Motsuenyane to talk about the prospects of future cooperation between the two countries.
Q: What kind of team do you have and what is the purpose of your visit to Yemen?
A: The team includes people interested in the mining sector in Yemen, in agriculture, construction, the infrastructure, and in business in general. We have somebody from the Chamber of Commerce in South Africa, who has had various meetings with his counterparts in this country.
We are also looking at other sectors, which may have not been represented in the team such as the fishing industry. We would like to see if there is anything we can do to assist these sectors, and this is the composition of this team. We aim to compile a report, then, with the aid of the South African government, we can determine in which area the private sector in both countries could be involved and this is the main purpose of our visit.
Q: How do you evaluate the current relationship between South Africa and Yemen?
A: Relations between South Africa and Yemen have been regarded as important by both governments. Yemen has opened a diplomatic office in South Africa and we also have connections through my embassy, as a non-resident ambassador.
I am also going to appoint an honorary consul for South Africa in Yemen to further strengthen our relations. There have been communications between the Ministry of Foreign affairs in South Africa and Yemen. So before long, we will begin to see some of the top officials of our department as well as our ministries beginning to exchange visits.
So the relationship is going to improve because the communication has already started and we are beginning to talk to each other to the highest level. We are hoping it will happen in a very short time.
Q: How do you see the opportunities of investing in Yemen?
A: We have had discussions with various ministries during this visit and they have tried to indicate the opportunities that exist in Yemen for investment. I cannot say if there will be a lot of investments coming to Yemen, we must first go back to our country and sell these opportunities to our business people. We will speak to them and see then what happens.
But having heard what the ministries in Yemen have to say about opportunities for investment and the whole environment regarding investment, I am satisfied that there are sufficient incentives in Yemen to entice outside investors. South African investors will see this as a very attractive area for investment in the future. There is a security of investment that is assured to the investors here.
Q: Did you discuss any cooperation plans between South Africa and Yemen?
A: Training opportunities are being discussed, especially in the geological sector, and there is every hope that before long we will already have people from Yemen coming to South Africa to benefit from the facilities we have there.
We have also seen a need from our universities to work together with the Yemen universities and exchange scholars and research materials so we can interact in a very positive way. I think that the cultural as well as the scientific exchanges will certainly be one means of cooperation that will be established in the near future.
Q: What are your impressions of Sanaa city?
A: We looked around the city and saw the old Yemen and how they used to live. We are looking forward to promoting tourism between the two countries to attract South Africans to Yemen and vice versa.
South Africa is a beautiful country, and there are a lot of attractions in Yemen which ought to be shown to the South Africans. I will take some brochures together with my team to talk about Yemen for the first time in a big way.
Q: Any last comments?
A: This visit was a very short one, we cannot learn everything that needs to be known about this wonderful country, but as time goes by we will pick up more information. It will make our relations much more productive and mutually beneficial.