Published On: 24-3-2016

Dubai, UAE: As part of its efforts to explore the Africa market, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry launched the Business Beyond Borders Series entitled Africa – Turn Risks Into Rewards workshop in cooperation with Coface at the Chamber premises on Wednesday.

Born out of the Chamber-organised Africa Global Business Forum, this first workshop focusing on Africa in general will later move on to cover individual workshops encompassing most promising countries in Africa and is addressed by heads of entities who have a strong presence in the continent.

The workshop, which was conducted by Massimo Falcioni, CEO, Middle East Countries, Coface Emirates Services Ltd, provided on-the-ground, practical, and real-time information on trading in Africa further informing that the challenges to investing in Africa is there but investors who can overcome these issues will find superior investment prospects in the African region.

In his welcome address, Omar Khan, Director, International Relations, Dubai Chamber, informed that the idea of this series germinated from the overtly successful Africa Global Business Forum whose objective is to explore the African market for UAE businesses. Therefore, looking at the enthusiastic response to Africa and its 54 economies, the Chamber decided to delve deeply into the Continent and to get more details about its member countries.

“The launch of this first of its kind Business Beyond Borders Series workshop, complements our reaching out to the African market strategy as we already have two international offices running in Ethiopia and Ghana and are all set to open another office in Mozambique this year to enhance the competitiveness of our members in emerging markets of the world, especially Africa, as well as to enhance two-day trade by highlighting Dubai as the middle ground for African companies to operate from,” said Khan.

Massimo Falcioni, CEO of Middle Eastern Countries, said: “We are pleased to partner with Dubai Chamber by sharing the Coface Business Information and Risk Outlook in African countries. This outlook will help Chamber members to better manage risks intelligently and strategically, while navigating into emerging markets and exploring new foreign destinations for investment.

“Africa, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, remains a top investment region. Of the 35 fastest growing economies, 16 can be found in Africa. That is why traditional investors including those from the Middle East divert their focus to Africa. This development also presents attractive opportunities for UAE-based businesses. In 2014, the UAE became the fourth largest source of FDI projects in Africa. It is one of the countries that have been actively investing in Africa along with US, France, Portugal and China. Opportunities in Africa’s real estate, hospitality, construction, telecommunications, media and technology, financial services, as well as consumer products and retail sectors are very optimistic, he said.

Added Falcioni, “To maximise the opportunity presented, businesses should protect themselves against financial setbacks. We, at Coface, are continuously partnering with businesses in the UAE to provide relevant information and solutions that will assist them against payment defaults and customer insolvency as they expand into the African market. This is possible though Coface’s direct or indirect presence in 100 countries. Each quarter, Coface publishes its assessments of country risk for 160 countries, based on its unique knowledge of companies’ payment behaviour.

Besides the opening of its international offices in Africa, Dubai Chamber has also launched the Africa Gateway Smart Application which is seen as a game changer in doing smart business with African countries with its three main features of exposing investors to market opportunities, trade laws and regulations and access to business tenders across the continent.

During the 3rd Africa Global Business Forum (AGBF) last November, Dubai Chamber signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Coface and the National General Insurance Company (NGI) to cooperate in supporting Chamber members in African trade and exports as well as those exporting to Africa with access to NGI trade credit insurance products while Coface will provide various value-added services that aim to assist companies entering or expanding their businesses in the continent besides organising a series of workshops and training courses.