Dubai: Africa offers ‘untapped potential’ for investments and that is what Dubai is intent on exploring, according to a top official.
“Companies from the UAE are keen to explore,” said Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “African markets have strategic importance to Dubai, as part of this ambitious strategy. And it’s also aligned with African countries across the continent that are looking to diversify their economies.”
His comments come just a day after Dubai Government owned DP World announced it will be setting an Africa-focussed investment platform, and for which it will pump in $1 billion over the next few years. DP World has roped in UK development finance entity CDC for the venture.
The UAE accounts for 88 per cent of GCC’s $1.2 billion investment in Sub-Saharan Africa between January 2016 and July 2021, according to a whitepaper issued by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and commissioned by Dubai Chamber. A total of 25,000 African companies are now registered with Dubai Chamber. 16 per cent growth
“Dubai has done exceptionally well during this challenging time (of combating the pandemic) and will now focus on building the train even further with a target of Dh2 trillion in the next five years,” the Dubai Chamber official added. “We have a lot of activities to establish new shipping routes, and links to connect more than 400 cities around the world.”
He was speaking at the sixth edition of the Global Business Forum Africa (GBF Africa). The two-day event is organised by Dubai Chamber in partnership with Expo 2020.
More than just trade relations
Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said, “We’re not only looking at business connections, but also looking at people connections. We look at opportunities in the DRC (the Democratic Republic of the Congo), whether it’s infrastructure, digitisation, or port management and create a situation that benefits, families, communities, and enterprise.”
Oil and petrochemicals are the top GCC exports to Africa, accounting for 24 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively, between 2016-20. Gold and diamonds dominate the GCC’s imports from Africa, making up 62 per cent of the total, followed by copper, accounting for 8 per cent.
Earlier this year, the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement was launched. The trade agreement has since then, created the largest free trade area in the world. With the new law, Intra Africa trade is expected to grow to almost 50 per cent in the next two decades from its current 12 per cent.
But Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President of Congo, said there is a need to leverage ‘green energy’ from African Countries. He said that the green rich continent has energy resources and raw materials in abundance and looking for investments in infrastructure and digitising the region.