Video Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal

The Global Business Forum Latin America provides the perfect platform to expand the scope of economic cooperation with businesses across Latin America and the Caribbean states as they turn to Dubai and the GCC for new investments and sustainable opportunities on the back of strong reforms, according to the President & CEO of Dubai Chambers.

“What is special about this year’s GBF Latin America is that we are hosting it after two years of difficult times. The timing of the forum provides everyone the opportunity of looking beyond the recovery mode. This is a great boost for taking our bilateral relations and trade to new heights,” Hamad Buamim, President & CEO, Dubai Chambers, told Gulf News in an interview.

Launched in 2016, GBF Latin America returns this year at Expo 2020 Dubai to reignite the dialogue between business leaders under the themes of reform, empower and grow. “We believe that during the six months of their participation at Expo 2020 Dubai, many Latin American and Caribbean nations have found great opportunities to connect their businesses with businesses from our region,” Buamim said.

The Covid-19 pandemic has created a further impetus for reforms, with governments and businesses across Latin America taking bold steps to bring new dynamism to the private sector, dismantling obstacles to trade and focusing on new markets. As a result, Buamim said, these economies are generating plenty of opportunities for  businesses from Dubai, the GCC and beyond, whether for trade, investments or knowledge exchange.

Let’s work together to showcase the great things about Latin America and the Caribbean nations and let’s use Dubai to showcase companies and keep collaborating beyond Expo 2020 Dubai. It is time we look beyond the pandemic recovery to a future full of dynamic opportunities.

- Hamad Buamim, President & CEO, Dubai Chambers

“If you look at Colombia for example, they had one of the best years last year and undertook a lot of reforms and is now well poised to bring in a lot of businesses – whether it’s in agriculture, commodities, tourism and supply chain logistics,” Buamim said.

“Brazil is another important country for us – they went through a number of reforms that can unlock major potentials for us. It’s a similar situation with Peru and Mexico. The whole of Latin America and the Caribbean region have been going through a lot of positive changes recently, which we believe will unlock a lot of business potential for companies in the region,” he said.

As companies around the world move to diversify their supplier base, Latin American companies are positioning themselves as the ideal alternative, particularly in sectors where the region has a competitive advantage. Potential synergies for Latin American countries with Dubai and the region include food and agriculture, tourism, innovation and technology, logistics and supply chains.

“Latin America is very strong when it gets to food industry, and food security is one of the top priorities for the UAE and the Gulf region. We believe that the food sector will continue to be an area of major discussion between both regions,” Buamim said.

“There are also great agricultural commodities produced in Latin America and the Caribbean countries that can grow mutual trade. Coffee is a business, for example, where Dubai is positioning itself as a central hub for the industry by collaborating with companies and businesses from Colombia and other parts of Latin America. This can help establish a win-win situation for both sides,” he added.

Untapped potential

According to a survey of more than 200 Latin American executives conducted in 2021, approximately 31 per cent of the respondents said they were currently exporting to the Middle East, but wanted to expand, while nearly 46 per cent said they were not currently trading but highly interested in doing so.

Buamim said it was this untapped potential that Dubai Chambers was working to capture, positioning the emirate for companies from Latin America and the Caribbean nations to help connect with other global economies – especially in Asia and the East. “Dubai businesses are strong on supply chain and logistics, tourism and hospitality, and real estate – there are discussions going on in these areas which might be of great interest to both sides,” he said.

The growing synergy in trade and investments has also been underpinned by Dubai Chamber’s increasing focus on being a global enabler of the digital economy.

“Whether it is in agritech, healthtech, fintech or other industries, digital economy offers opportunities for both sides. There are investors from our part of the world who are interested in the growing digital economy of the Latin America and Caribbean nations and vice versa,” Buamim said.

With more than 60 per cent of survey participants forecasting a strong post-pandemic economic growth and seeking easier access to international markets for Latin American and Caribbean countries, GBF Latin America will hear from the most influential leaders and organisations redefining mutual trade with those economies and the GCC on charting a sustainable way forward.

“Both regions have a great potential in trade, commerce and business. Let’s work together to showcase the great things about Latin America and the Caribbean nations and let’s use Dubai to showcase companies and keep collaborating beyond Expo 2020 Dubai. It is time we look beyond the pandemic recovery to a future full of dynamic opportunities,” Buamim said.