Trade Relations between the GCC and South Africa

M. Baliamoune-Lutz

The beginning of trade between the Arab world and sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) goes back several centuries. Yet presently, there are hardly strong trade links between Arab countries and SSA. In the last few years, some initiatives or agreements have been put in place in attempts to enhance trade relations between specific regions or countries in Africa and Arab countries in general. There are, however, more significant meetings and agreements that took place between South Africa on the one hand, for example, and China and India on the other. In this paper, major similarities and differences between the Gulf Co-operation Council countries (GCC) and South Africa are reviewed. Secondly, the paper describes South Africa’s trade with the Arab Gulf, mainly by examining South Africa and GCC’s major traded commodities, and South Africa’s trade with its major trading partners and with GCC. Third is a discussion on the trade areas that seem to be most promising in South Africa’s trade relation with the six GCC countries, which are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Finally, the paper outlines potential future developments. While it primarily discusses these issues from the perspective of South Africa, it also points out potential trade opportunities from the perspective of GCC countries.

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