Published On: 9-9-2013

Dubai, UAE: H.E. Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, urged businesses in the emirate to move towards African markets as the continent holds significant potential for the future business world, highlighting Angola as a rewarding option for Emirati investment.

His Excellency was speaking during the Country Focus Briefing Angola, organised in partnership with the Embassy of the Republic of Angola, and held at Dubai Chamber headquarters today.

In his welcome address, H.E. Al Ghurair highlighted trade as a strong sector for future growth between Dubai and Angola. “We see trade as a chief area of opportunity, especially as Angola is a major commodities exporter and has potential to significantly expand its agricultural output,” he said. “Last year, Dubai-Angola total non-oil trade valued AED 6.7 billion, making the country Dubai’s 37th largest trade partner.”

His Excellency said: “This puts Angola ahead of some other major markets and highlights the existing strength in our relationship. Yet we would like to see these figures increase in line with our efforts to enhance business ties.”

His Excellency highlighted the role Emirates airline plays in connecting the two business communities by operating direct flights between Dubai and Luanda. He said this was “helping to bring our business communities closer together while driving tourism and trade sectors.”

H.E. Al Ghurair said Angola has potential for Dubai investment across a number of sectors, including construction and infrastructure, transport, agriculture and tourism as these are areas where Dubai companies have extensive experience.

Also speaking during the event were H.E. Flavio Fonseca, Ambassador of Angola to the UAE, Mr. José Antonio da Conseicao Silva, Minister of Urbanism and Construction (Housing), Republic of Angola, H.E. Maria Luísa Perdigão Abrantes, Chairman and President of the Board of Directors, Angola National Agency for Private Investment (ANIP), and Jose Severino, President, Angolan Industrial Association.

In his welcome address, H.E. Fonseca thanked Dubai Chamber for hosting the event, saying that his country was working to strengthen bilateral relations with the UAE. He said that Angola is an excellent option for investment due to its political stability and abundance of natural resources.

His Excellency said Angola has been one of the world’s fastest growing economies over the past decade, which has qualified it as a model in economic development for Africa. He highlighted specific investment opportunities in construction, infrastructure, transport, logistics, banking and manufacturing.

In his presentation, H.E. Silva highlighted Angola’s need for investments in infrastructure, construction, the rehabilitation of the communication network, energy and water supply and waste management.

The Minister said that Angola’s population was about 15 million people, however current housing stock was short some 1.7 million homes. He said this emphasised the need to invest in the construction of houses, as well as the import of construction materials and machinery.

He stressed the need for successful partnerships between the public and private sectors through the National Development Programme for Housing, and added that the Angolan Government was committed to its major developmental plan for the years 2013-2017 to provide a better quality of life for Angolan citizens.

H.E. Abrantes, who gave a presentation about the trade and investment opportunities in Angola, said that GDP is expected to increase by 7.1% this year, following an average of 8% growth between 2000 and 2008.

Her Excellency said advantages of investing in Angola included a country rich in flora and fauna, 7.4 million hectares of arable land, of which less than 3% is currently cultivated. The country also has a diversity of mineral ores and has enjoyed political stability since 2002.

H.E. Abrantes told delegates that from 2000 to 2011, the Angolan government invested an average of US$4.7 billion per year in order to rehabilitate infrastructure.

She said foreign direct investments in Angola in 2012 amounted to US$115.5 billion, while Angolan FDI totalled US$8.196 billion. At the same time, the Angolan government gave incentives for “Priority Areas” including infrastructure, agriculture and cattle breeding, transport, industry, energy and water, industrial hubs and free zones, education and health and hotel and tourism investments.

A presentation by Dubai Chamber highlighted the economic synergies between the UAE and Angola in a wide variety of sectors including ICT, tourism, oil refining, transport and export of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), manufacturing, finance and agri-business.