Published On: 03/03/2021

– Insights from high-level focus groups to shape the agenda of the upcoming Global Business Forum Africa, set to be held during Expo 2020 Dubai.

Dubai, UAE: Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced that it has concluded a series of six Global Business Forum virtual roadshows, which examined the business landscape in emerging markets across East Africa, West Africa and Southern Africa, as well as high-potential investment opportunities emerging across the continent.

Several high-level focus groups were organised as part of the roadshows over the last six months, which were joined by over 60 prominent businessmen, trade officials and other stakeholders from a wide range of economic sectors in Africa.

The discussions highlighted key trends reshaping African economies in the wake of Covid-19, including the rise of e-commerce and digital economy, privatisation of the healthcare sector, economic diversification strategies, the changing banking landscape, the shift to regional integration led by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and the development of agri-business sectors.

According to the participants, Dubai could be a distributor of electric vehicle components to Africa sourced from the US and China, and facilitator of digital trade on the continent. As a world-class financial hub, Dubai can offer African companies financial solutions from commercial debt, and cross-border solutions to bridge the finance gap in key African markets, they noted.

As a gateway to the wider Middle East for Africa, Dubai could serve as a hub for processing and packaging African food products, participants noted. The relocating of Africa conglomerates’ headquarters to the emirate was also highlighted as a practical way for such companies to attract finance to the continent.

In addition, attendees expressed their confidence in Dubai’s ability to channel businesses from all over the world into Africa, with existing opportunities spanning various sectors and areas, including tourism, education, logistics, cold storage, food wastage, finance, training, engineering and the certification for organic foods.

Hassan Al Hashemi, Vice President of International Relations at Dubai Chamber, said the roadshow series comes at a time when economies in Africa are navigating Covid-related headwinds. The focus groups supported Dubai Chamber’s ongoing efforts to study key economic trends in African markets, identify business opportunities that offer the most potential for member companies and boost Dubai-Africa trade and investment, he explained.

The valuable feedback shared during the discussions will be used to shape the agendas of the upcoming GBF Africa in Dubai, a premier international event that will be held during Expo 2020 Dubai, he explained. He added that the high-level business forum is the largest event of its kind outside of the continent, as well as an ideal platform for exploring new avenues of economic cooperation.

The Global Business Forum is Dubai Chamber’s flagship event series providing a platform for high-level dialogue between Dubai and emerging markets that offer business potential. Organised on the sidelines of Expo 2020 Dubai, the upcoming forums will address macroeconomic developments, key challenges and opportunities emerging in the region through thought-provoking discussions and direct dialogue between government and business leaders.