GCC Trade with Africa on the rise – report
Investors are seeking opportunities in new sectors and geographic locations with Dubai and the UAE a well-placed hub to drive and facilitate growth.
Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries are placing more attention on new markets in east, west and southern Africa as their trade flows with the continent expand, according to a report released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in conjunction with Falcon and Associates.
The EIU study, GCC Trade and Investment Flows, shows that the GCC’s push into Africa is broadening by sector and geographical location. From telecommunications and private equity in West Africa to energy projects in South Africa and Mozambique, investment flows are diversifying. Opportunities in infrastructure are a primary growth driver, where, according to World Bank estimates, US$96bn a year is required to bridge the gap, while fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) is one of the fastest-emerging opportunities on the continent, driven by increased spending power and rising consumer needs.
Findings show Dubai and the UAE as a major trade and investment partner across the African continent. This year, the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) signed a US$300M agreement with Dangote Cement in West Africa and bought a significant stake in Kerzner International. 2014 also saw Dubai-based Jumeirah Group expand operations into North Africa with a management agreement in Mauritius and the recent deal between Emirates Airline (which already operates more than 160 flights a week to Africa) and TAAG Angola Airlines will improve connections to Central and South Africa.
In addition, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts has signed its first Memorandum of Guidance with their counterparts in the High Court of Kenya advancing legal structures and enabling more confident investing.
These findings follow the success of the 2014 Africa Global Business Forum in Dubai organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The event was attended by over 1000 delegates from 62 countries and focused on encouraging investment opportunities and promoting sustainable development across Africa.