A gold and jewellery factory in Dubai. Most of Dubai exports come from the gold and jewellery sector, which contributes to more than 60 per cent of the total export value. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai Exports is targeting high growth markets such as Africa and Central Asia, when the rest of the world is witnessing a slowdown.

The export promotion agency of the Dubai Department of Economic Development has been targeting markets whose economic growth was in excess of 7 per cent, a far cry from the world economy, which is growing at just a little above 3 per cent. And even the targets for 2019 are lower. The Organization for Economic Co-Operation & Development (OECD) expects the world economy would grow 3.3 per cent in 2019 and 3.4 per cent in 2020.

“The average global economy may be facing a slowdown but that is not true of all the markets that Dubai Exports is targeting. Opening such markets offers our companies new opportunities and avenues to grow their business despite the economic slowdown in the developed world,” Mohammad Al Kamali, Deputy CEO, Dubai Exports, told Gulf News in an interview.

Kamali pointed out that Africa is full of opportunities with young population and high mobile penetration. Over half of all Africans are under 20, and are rapidly moving to cities with more than 40 per cent now living in urban areas.

Dubai Exports has been extremely successful in the Chinese market and this has been supported by the events held in the country, which include Sial China.

- Mohammad Al Kamali | Deputy CEO, Dubai Exports

He gave an example of Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa. “Greater urbanisation offers UAE companies better reach to target young and upwardly mobile potential consumers. The rise of technology has meant that the number of mobile subscribers in Africa exceeds 800 million and therefore allowing companies greater access to consumers,” Kamali said.

“Dubai Exports has been extremely successful in the Chinese market and this has been supported by the events held in the country, which include Sial China. Also, Dubai Exports has a trade office in Hong Kong to support UAE firms to enter the highly lucrative Chinese market,” he added.

Dubai Exports opened an office in 2017 in Hong Kong to establish and develop strong relations with business and government decision makers in Hong Kong and China.

Most of Dubai exports come from the gold and jewellery sector, which contributes to more than 60 per cent of the total export value and about half of all re-exports. In 2018, Dubai’s exports stood at Dh127 billion. while re-exports grew 12 per cent to Dh402 billion.

A mobile store in Johannesburg. The rise of technology has meant that the number of mobile subscribers in Africa exceeds 800 million, Al Kamali said. Image Credit: Bloomberg

“In order to leverage the strengths of this sector Dubai Exports has partnered with all the stakeholders to formulate and launch the Gold Policy. The aim of this policy is to increase the global drive of the sector and strengthen the domestic base of producers,” he added.

Phones of all types topped the list of commodities in Dubai’s foreign trade (imports and exports) in 2018 with Dh150 billion worth of trade. Next on the list was gold with Dh146 billion worth of trade, followed by jewellery (Dh106 billion), diamonds (Dh94 billion), and cars with Dh65 billion.

China maintained its position as Dubai’s biggest trading partner in 2018 with Dh139 billion worth of trade. India came in second with Dh116 billion worth of trade, followed by the USA in third place with Dh81 billion. Saudi Arabia continued to be Dubai’s largest Arab trade partner and its fourth largest global trade partner with Dh55 billion, followed by Switzerland in fifth place with Dh49 billion.

Kamali feels that: “our traditional export partners like India and our GCC neighbours will continue to be our strongest allies. In addition to this, Dubai Exports is also turning its focus to other profitable markets which include Central Asia and Africa.”