DCCI Chief: Dubai Chamber plans more offices in Africa

Dubai’s rapidly growing share of trade with Africa has encouraged the emirate’s business representative body to enter into a dialogue with more countries to open their office there. After tasting success in Ethopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, where they opened an office last year,The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) is currently in talks in Nigeria, South Africa, Angola, Kenya and Ghana said Hamad Bu Amim, president and chief executive of the DCCI on the sidelines of the ongoing Swift International Banking Operations Seminar (Sibos) . “We have started seeing the results of opening in Addis Ababa, business for our traders has jumped more than 100 per cent within a year and we expect that to continue,” Bu Amim said. “Addis Ababa is like what Belgium is to Europe. That is where the African Union is located and we are on our way expanding in other places.”

Dubai’s trade with Africa has witnessed the biggest increase in the last five years compared to other geographies, including Asia, said the DCCI president and CEO.

“We have seen trading with Africa in the past five years grow from 6 per cent, as a share of Dubai trade, to 10 per cent. This is very important; this is around going from $10 billion close to $30 billion trade, which makes Africa the highest growing market as a group for Dubai traders,” Bu Amim said.

Africa assumes critical importance to Dubai because it is an export market with a higher value compared to other regions, he said. The continent consumes goods, with many of them being manufactured locally in the UAE, and as well from imports from overseas that are re-exported from Dubai. While the Middle East is still the biggest region in terms of re-exports from other global locations, the African share is growing fast.

Dubai serves as a corridor for a close trade relationship between the world and Africa and the world and the region, said Bu Amim, which is helped by the emirate’s position of being one of the top three transhipment hubs in the world.

“We spend more time exploring opportunities for our businesses in Africa today compared to the developed world as we used to, may be 10 years ago,” said Bu Amim.

China’s huge exports to Africa through Dubai have also benefited the emirate’s traders in growing its business. “We have lot of dialogue with the Chinese and they say how Dubai is a gateway to the Gulf, a gateway to the Middle East and it can become the gateway to Africa,” said the DCCI chief.

“In the last three years trade with Iran has dropped by in the range of 75 per cent,” he noted. “There is a huge impact. The major reason is not only with sanctions but also restrictions of the financial exchanges of money. However our trading community has been taking all the measures to counter that by opening up new markets and being able to grow up somewhere else, and I would say some of that have been African markets.”

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