MANILA - The South African Ambassador to the Philippines on Wednesday told President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that her country is "open to assist" Manila should it want to source petroleum products from Africa as oil prices continue to surge due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
While oil deposits in the Africa are in Angola and Namibia, South Africa houses the four largest ports in the continent, South African Ambassador Bartinah Ntombizodwa Radebe-Netshitenzhe said.
"Angola is already the biggest supplier in Southern Africa. So what we said to the President-elect is that we are open to assist to facilitate that," she said in a press conference after her courtesy call on Marcos Jr.
"We have discovered a lot of oil in Angola... So they can be able to complement the shortage of oil," she said.
"Africa is a the next destination, the next place of doing business," she added.
South Africa is also eyeing to expand the export of its citrus fruits to the Philippines, Radebe-Netshitenzhe said, noting that some African companies are already operating in Mindanao.
"We always had a good relationship in terms of producing some of the citrus for Filipinos," she said.
"We are looking to accelerate that and bringing the table grapes and other items," she said.
The envoy did not mention how Marcos Jr. responded to her offer, but underscored that she was "very impressed" with the President-elect's knowledge about her home country.
"We're impressed with his knowledge. He has done his studies," she said.
"He understands that with South Africa, not only do we have bilateral and economic relations with the Philippines [but] we share a lot of common background with the Philippines, being colonized by more than two colonizers," she said.
In 2020, bilateral trade between the Philippines and South Africa was pegged at 3.158 billion South African rand or approximately P10.56 billion, according to data from South Africa's International Relations and Cooperation Department.
Among the African country's top imports from the Philippines are fish products, footwear, electrical appliances, tobacco, spirits and beverages.
The Philippines, on the other hand, sources base metals, minerals, paper and pulp from South Africa.