(MENAFN- Emirates News Agency (WAM)) DUBAI, 13th October, 2021 (WAM) -- Africa offers significant potential for investment and economic partnerships that can create mutual benefits for UAE businesses and their African counterparts, Sultan Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World Group, said today at the Global Business Forum Africa in Dubai.
Bin Sulayem's comments came during a session titled Partnerships for Prosperity, which examined Dubai's efforts to strengthen its investment and trade ties with promising African markets. He highlighted prospects for expanding cooperation between Africa and the UAE and discussed the best ways to simultaneously drive growth in both markets.
He outlined the mechanisms for achieving prosperity, which, he said, require African countries to work to provide opportunities for business success by enacting legislation, laws and policies, in addition to providing logistical services, finance and infrastructure to enable African countries to attract major investments.
On the work of ports and their contribution to promoting economic growth, Bin Sulayem explained that their status comes from the role they play in stimulating prosperity and increasing investment, referring to the example of Dubai's ports, which contribute significantly to the UAE's GDP and create many job opportunities on top of being gateways to markets around the world.
"The important thing is to use ports to support the continuous development of business and the search for innovative ideas that contribute to the transition to a new era of recovery and prosperity. Dubai is constantly seeking to build partnerships and has important experience in expanding in Africa. It seeks to transfer its wealth of experience to help develop business in Africa and to contribute effectively to achieving economic growth in the continent's countries. Dubai is committed to expanding its presence in Africa because of all the ingredients it possesses that stimulate the building of sustainable companies," he said.
"In Dubai, we are very optimistic about building the best relations with African countries, but what Africa needs today is transparency, governance and the provision of transportation networks to encourage the private sector, spur investments and make profits. They must also work to reduce the cost of transportation and the complexities in supply chains, with the provision of financing that encourages increased investments and contributes to achieving economic growth," Bin Sulayem continued.
On the impact of the pandemic, Bin Sulayem said, "The supply chains have been exposed during the last period to unprecedented challenges and there were significant restrictions to their operations. We have seen that they are highly affected by global crises and we need to find proactive solutions to address this."
Bin Sulayem pointed out that challenges remain within Africa's industrial sector and the capabilities of young people must be developed, saying, "We are carrying out programmes to educate young people, involve them and refine their capabilities - this is part of our societal responsibilities in Africa."
"In the coming months, Dubai Ports will reach about 100,000 young people in Africa with specific programmes to qualify them to be active in contributing to business development and to growing the economies of their countries," he added.
Within the same context, prominent business leaders representing various economic sectors in Namibia, Zambia and Ethiopia have shared their insights on new plans to attract foreign investment, fill market gaps and expand infrastructure in their respective countries.
Speaking today during a panel session at the Global Business Forum Africa 2021 in Dubai titled New Alliances, New Horizons, Chileshe Kapwepwe, Secretary-General, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Zambia; Admassu Tadesse, President and Chief Executive Officer, Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB), Ethiopia; and Nangula Nelulu Uaandja, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), Namibia, discussed new ways to enhance African economies.
"Attracting foreign investment in Zambia is at the very top of our agenda. Foreign direct investment in Africa was recorded at US$40 billion in 2020. We believe that by building strategic partnerships with key players in the African markets, we can build new opportunities to attract more foreign investors. Partnerships can help us transfer raw materials into finished goods, creating added value to the economy and enabling the Zambian business sector to trade its goods worldwide," said Chileshe Kapwepwe.
"Financial institutions in Africa are always looking to fund new megaprojects that will strengthen the economic structure. The implications of COVID-19 have built new norms for businesses around the world, and we have witnessed an enormous investment in sustainable finance, green bonds, and COVID bonds. Additionally, a huge boost to the health care sector, the bank is currently financing five hospitals compared to one in 2018. COVID-19 was indeed a wake-up call for us and led us to invest more in healthcare institutions. On the other hand, we have invested heavily in building the telecommunication infrastructure in Africa. We are currently financing fibre-optic cable projects that will provide a stable connection and help e-commerce grow. We believe that Africa has huge promising opportunities, and a bright future is waiting for us," said Admassu Tadesse.
"Namibia is looking to build a dynamic economic structure focused on specific industries and 97 products. We are seeking to benefit from our strategic locations. The country is surrounded by three landlocked countries, which gives us a unique opportunity to be the commerce gate for three promising African markets. We believe that infrastructure has a vital role in attracting investments. Hence, we are working on several logistic projects that will enhance our position geoeconomically; building rails, ports, and airports are a priority for our economic plan," commented Nangula Nelulu Uaandja.
All three speakers confirmed the need to build solid infrastructure across the African continent, stressing that it was the backbone of today's economies. Building strategic partnerships is another key focus of public and private sector stakeholders across the continent as they look to unlock new trade and investment opportunities.
The speakers asserted that the African leaders should take control of the African public narrative, saying that Africa today is not like it used to be, with the continent boasting limitless business opportunities, a well-educated and trained workforce and abundant raw materials that can help build new horizons for the regional economy.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai Chamber is organising GBF Africa 2021 – the sixth edition in the series - under the theme Transformation Through Trade. The two-day event is being hosted in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai.
GBF Africa is taking place on October 13th-14th on the sidelines of Expo 2020 Dubai. Bearing the theme 'Transformation Through Trade', the event aims to set the stage for significant post-pandemic trade and commerce between Dubai and Africa in a post-pandemic world.
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