The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and industry is taking steps to increase its trade and investment ties with Africa. “With an increasing population and economy, Dubai sees Africa as a rising player in the global market, with many resources, and with specific supply and demand opportunities which correspond with Dubai’s needs and abilities, it is a natural fit,” says the chamber’s chairman Majid Saif Al Ghurair.

The moves include opening a third African office in Mozambique’s capital Maputo, with a fourth scheduled to be opened in Nairobi later this year, alongside the launch of the African Gateway Smart Application, which helps Dubai-based companies identify the best ways to enter certain African markets. Popular target countries are Angola, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa, Mozambique, Côte d’Ivoire, Uganda and Ethiopia.

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The chamber will also be hosting another edition of the African Global Business Forum, a platform which brings together African leaders and multinational companies to stimulate and explore investment opportunities.

Two-way traffic

The chamber is supplementing this with more frequent trade missions and delegations to Africa and hosting an increased number of African delegations in Dubai Dubai.

While Mr Al Ghurair stresses that the Dubai chamber sees many sectors in Africa as good investment opportunities, he concedes that the chamber’s key interest right now is agriculture. “We have recently been placing particular emphasis on agriculture, as Dubai’s increasing demand for produce and fresh and packaged foodstuffs represents an opportunity for Africa’s many suppliers,” he said.

He also sees potential in the manufacturing and mining industries (due to Dubai’s growing number of infrastructure projects), and in logistics, finance sector and tourism. Africa’s Islamic countries are also being specifically targeted, he adds. “Islamic finance is attractive even in non-Muslim countries, and there is room to grow across halal food and pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, modest fashion and family-friendly tourism,” said Mr Al Ghurair.