Africa Global Business Forum seeks trade and investment opportunities in Africa

August 13, 2014 1:57 pm

The 2nd Africa Global Business Forum (AGBF), which will take place in Dubai on October 1-2, will explore and facilitate new business partnerships between the GCC countries and the African continent.

Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the Africa Global Business Forum 2014, organised by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry under the theme, New Realities – New Connections, will focus on the opportunities and challenges of collaborating on infrastructure, how to overcome barriers to intra-regional trade, how Africa can benefit from GCC experience in these areas, and how the GCC’s location can play an important part in investment and business with African countries.

The Forum will also review the African markets’ investment linkages and future trade prospects with the world, while also focusing on the prospective hubs and networks that will shape the global economy over the next few decades.

H.E. Hamad Buamim, President & CEO, Dubai Chamber, said: “The Forum reinforces the status of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as a gateway for trade to and from the African continent. It also serves as an ideal platform for regional business leaders to engage in a highly constructive dialogue with leading decision-makers on the global investment scene, as well as prominent stakeholders from the African Union and Economic Blocs.”

From 2005 to 2012, the total trade between Saudi Arabia and the African continent increased by 40.2%, rising from SR 38.25 billion in 2005 to SR 53.63 billion in 2012, according to UN comtrade. Also, according to the same database, Saudi Arabia’s imports from Africa rose from SR 6.34 billion in 2005 to SR 16.89 billion in 2012, while Saudi exports to the continent touched the SR 36.34 billion mark in 2012.

The interest in investing in Africa is based on the Kingdom’s close proximity to the continent and the Gulf States’ experience in key sectors important to economic growth in Africa such as oil and gas, infrastructure, logistics, telecommunications, tourism and agriculture. Africa is considered to be an important source for certain agricultural products, raw materials and minerals imported by the Gulf countries.

The size of investments in Africa from the Saudi private sector is estimated to be around SR 4.6 trillion, according to the first session of the 2nd Gulf African investment Conference.

The 2nd Africa Global Business Forum will have an exclusive audience of 500 top government and private officials including heads of states, ministers and dignitaries, prominent CEOs operating globally, heads of private banks, sovereign wealth funds, private equity firms, UAE business leaders, and heads of African Investment Promotion Agencies.

Among the most prominent participants so far in the forum include H.E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, H.E. Armando Guebuza, President of the Republic of Mozambique, H.E. Amama Mbabazi, Prime Minister of Uganda and Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man.

From the UAE, guests include; H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Emirates Airline and Group, H.E. Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and Managing Director, Dubai Expo 2020, H.E. Sultan Al Mansour, UAE Minister of Economy, and H.E. Mohammed I. Al Shaibani, Executive Director and CEO, Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), H.E. Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman, DP World, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, President of African Development Bank Group, Stephen Schwarzman, Chairman and CEO, Blackstone Group, and Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Asia.