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South Africa, Mozambique Seek Saudi Agriculture, Food Investment

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Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- South Africa and Mozambique want to attract capital investment from Saudi Arabia as they try to expand their economies and build infrastructure, officials from both countries said today.

South Africa wants partners on projects with a “significant capital base,” the country’s Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel told reporters in Riyadh today. “We are seeking to encourage investment in food processing sectors.”

African leaders and ministers, including those from Ghana, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa and Zambia, are attending a two-day summit in Riyadh. The meeting aims to improve trade volumes between the Persian Gulf nations and Africa.

Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy, is encouraging domestic food companies to invest in Africa and Asia to reduce local grain production and conserve water. The Arab world’s largest economy wants to stop domestic wheat production by 2016.

Saudi Arabia could “do a lot to help us in farming” and provide “where we lack in capital,” the country’s President Armando Guebuza said today. “We need better infrastructure, better roads and railways.”

Mozambique is seeking as much as $4 billion to develop a railway system that will link its major ports to neighboring countries and connect the north to the south, Transport and Communication Minister Paulo Zucula said on Nov. 11. Rail lines linking Zimbabwe to the port of Beira, and Malawi and Zambia with Nacala will be upgraded, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Glen Carey in Riyadh at gcarey8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net.

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