The Second Arab-Africa Trade Forum in Cairo revealed new ways to take trade forward, Tom Collins wrote on African Business.
- One of the largest opportunities in Africa for Arab investors is light manufacturing, with an estimated $80bn worth of potential on the continent.
- The creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which boasts a combined GDP of $3.4trn, should act as catalyst to encourage Arab companies to manufacture goods that can be sold across the continent.
- In 2019, Afreximbank and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) launched a $500m facility to fund key sectors and strengthen export value chains to increase trade.
- The ITFC identified agriculture and SMEs as two key sectors in Africa that could step up links with the Arab world through increased investment.
- The trade finance body, along with its partners, launched the Arab-Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) in 2017 to boost trade between the two regions. The AATB provides a platform that can be used by Arab and African businesses to discover and unlock opportunities in both regions.
- Since then, over 1,000 financial stakeholders have taken part in the initiative and the platform has led to more than $150m worth of transactions.
However, despite a range of initiatives and opportunities there are several bottlenecks which must first be overcome to effectively boost economic cooperation between the two regions. Catching opportunities in Africa for Arab Investors, Tom Collins said.
According to Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Ethiopia’s location gives it strategic dominance in the Horn of Africa, close to the Middle East and its markets. Bordering Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan, and Sudan.
Dubai and UAE as a global business hub and Ethiopia a gateway to Africa with rich in history, have strong economic ties that have reached trade value of US$ 836 million in 2018, the Chamber data showed.
International Trade statistics data of United Nations COMTRADE revealed Ethiopia Exports to United Arab Emirates was US$169.39 Million during 2020.
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