Strengthening Investment Ties between Middle East and Africa

Government Ministers from these two regions gather as The Africa Middle East Investment Forum begins

The timely Africa Middle East- Investment Forum opened today at the Address Dubai Mall Hotel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This opportune event aims to show case investment opportunities in Africa and Middle East as a practical and significant stride towards opening new markets that will encourage investments and trade between the two regions.

H.E Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, the Undersecretary, Ministry of Foreign Trade-Deputy Minister, United Arab Emirates gave a compelling opening speech and noted that given the upward trend of the economic fortunes in these two regions, now is the perfect time to substantially raise the productivity of the investment linkages. “Since our regions are both aggressively pursuing economic diversification, we should look into mutually beneficial investment areas”.  H.E Al Saleh thanked the organizers of the form and termed it as an ideal platform to examine the major sustainability issues of economic diversification, water scarcity, climate change, youth development and employment, governance transparency and reform, and the social and economic empowerment of women. He said that a growth factor that they are particularly focusing on is the private sector, which they recognize as the core source of the regional development. Through forums such as these we hope to provide better access to Africa and other major global markets for our industries’ he said.

H.E noted the Middle East is very attracted to potentially high-return in African investment and noted that some countries in the region have been coming up with new regulations intended to make doing business with us easier and more fruitful investors. In UAE for example, he said that they are making changes to the companies’ law that will expand foreign ownership opportunities in some sectors and drive down business setup costs, among others.

On areas in which Africa and Middle East should pursue stronger economic ties, he highlighted Oil & Gas (Africa’s O&G reserves are estimated at over 200 billion barrels of oil equivalent.  Given the Middle East’s experience in the O&G domain, there are numerous investment, technology transfer, manpower and consultancy prospects that we can explore.),real estate and construction, clean energy, logistics and transportation banking, retailing, agriculture, construction, renewable energy and telecommunications. He said that these opportunities should be discussed thoroughly between both sides in this forum and in other avenues.

The Conference continues tomorrow with more sessions like assessing the role of Islamic finance as a catalyst for mobilizing cross border trade and investment flows between Africa and Middle East being discussed.


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