Dubai chamber helps United Arab Emirates investors find prospects in Africa

A recent report by researchers from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce in the United Arab Emirates contains helpful information for UAE investors looking for economic opportunities in Africa.

“Beyond Commodities: Gulf Investors and the new Africa” was a joint project of the chamber and the Economist Intelligence Unit. It detailed where the best investments in Africa are, including those in non-commodity sectors. Its findings were unveiled at the recent third annual Third African Global Business Forum, an event of the Dubai Chamber.
Other information in the report included a list of trends with regard to demographics and current consumer markets, and an economic stability map. It showed that the best region for non-commodity investors was East Africa and suggested automotive, commercial banking and tourism as some of the best bets.

Hamad Buamim, the Dubai chamber's president and CEO, said the report reflected the chamber's dedication to providing sound investment advice to its member businesses.

"Most studies and global indicators point toward a future that is very bright in Sub-Saharan Africa, and so we’re putting our trust in these markets that we think will drive the engine of growth in the region, ensuring that the Dubai chamber is, once again, at the forefront of the investment community and committed to ensuring that all our capabilities are being used to reinforce the competitive nature of the private sector in Dubai, mirroring the high reputation that Dubai has managed to build for itself in such a short space of time," Buamim said.

The report encouraged three methods of entry into African investments for its members: co-investment backed by private-equity funds, acquisition of private-entity businesses and direct buyouts. It focused on the launch of new airlines in the Gulf area, pointing out that because of them, tourism was becoming one of the region's best investment opportunities.

In fact, the report revealed, about 20 hotels and resorts in Sub-Saharan Africa are owned by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) investors.

The region's unstable infrastructure was blamed for its shaky logistics.

"Gulf firms have experience to share, but only a few are exploring investment in Africa at the moment," Buamim said.

African Development Bank calculations showed that the GCC region's gross domestic product growth from 2010-14 was 6.1 percent, while per capita income spiked almost 60 percent. By the end of 2015, the GCC region's population will be 962 million; by 2030 analysts believe that number will go up to 1.4 billion.

In that same four-year period, the top Sub-Saharan nations for GCC investment were Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Uganda.

The report said one of the most rapidly advancing sectors in Africa is private health
care operations. Analysts attribute this to the continent's growing middle class, which is also causing a rise in the demand for education programs.

Opportunities for education in Kenya and Uganda were given as examples.
Many Islamic finance corporations are investing in African nations, and the demand for these investments is expected to continue its upward trajectory. Other growing sectors will include insurance and remittances. As urban areas continue to grow, so does the popularity of open-air marketplaces and small shops.

More information about the report and the Dubai chamber's members and services can be found online at www.DubaiChamber.com.

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Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry

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