Tapping into Africa’s Frontier Markets

Hamad Buanim, President & CEO of Dubai Chamber

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Africa’s strategic importance as a market to Dubai is explained in a contributed article by Dubai Chamber’s President & CEO, Hamad Buamim

By: Hamad Buamim

Africa remains a market of strategic importance to Dubai that is ripe with opportunity as momentum behind regional economic integration and reforms gather pace.

There are plenty of reasons why Africa is emerging as the frontier market of choice in the post-Covid era. First, Africa is projected to see the strongest population growth of any world region in the next 80 years. Meanwhile, the continent’s middle class continues to grow, while a new wave of young, tech-savvy, and brand-conscious Africans is expected to boost consumer spending over the coming decades.

Secondly, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), a landmark agreement creating the world’s largest continental free trade area connecting the continent’s 55 countries, has the potential to transform the continent’s economic prospects. Dubai’s trade with Africa could see an annual increase of up to 10 percent over the next five years following the implementation of the AfCFTA, according to a recent forecast from Dubai Chamber.

African countries that previously relied heavily on agriculture are now diversifying beyond commodities and investing in innovation-focused sectors and startups that are driving the continent’s digital shift. Technology is quickly finding its way into all aspects of African societies and creating plenty of new and attractive market opportunities.

As a preferred hub for African companies, Dubai holds the key to unlocking Africa’s untapped trade and investment potential. The emirate’s strategic geographic location between Africa and Asia positions it as an ideal economic partner that can connect African exporters to emerging markets around the world.

The emirate’s trade with Africa has increased sharply in recent years, thanks to growing interest among UAE and African companies to tap into bilateral business opportunities and expand their global presence.

Evidence of this upward trend is reflected in the Global Business Forum Africa (GBF Africa), the largest forum of its kind to be hosted outside of the continent. The forum, part of Dubai Chamber’s flagship GBF event series, offers an ideal platform for African governments and businesses to showcase investment opportunities and forge partnerships with their UAE counterparts.

The sixth edition of the forum, descending on Dubai October 13-14, 2021, will explore a wide range of trends and factors shaping Africa’s development and showcase competitive advantages that Dubai can offer African companies that are looking to capitalise on emerging business opportunities.

GBF Africa is a key pillar of Dubai Chamber’s Africa strategy which comprises four representative offices located in Ghana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Kenya. These offices play a crucial role in identifying business opportunities emerging across Africa and assisting African companies that are keen to enter the Dubai market or leverage the emirate as a strategic hub to access emerging markets across the Middle East and Asia. The ever-expanding trade links between Africa and Dubai are positive signs that our efforts are bearing fruit.

The benefits of participating in the upcoming GBF Africa are bigger than ever, considering that the high-level forum is taking place on the sidelines of Expo 2020 Dubai, the first world expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region and the largest event ever held in the Arab world is an unprecedented opportunity for African companies to forge cross-border partnerships and boost their global profile.

I call on African businesses to take part in these landmark events and explore a world of new possibilities in Dubai.

Hamad Buamim is President and CEO of Dubai Chamber and Chairman of the ICC’s World Chambers Federation

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