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GBF 2019:Strengthening markets beyond Africa

What could be described as one the key Africa related events in the calendar, the Global Business Forum Africa 2019 (GBF) will most definitely meet the expectations. A lot has been said about what it could mean for the future prospects that it holds for the entrepreneurial scenery of African start-ups. Not only that, but what the impact of economic deals on the macro level could mean after the ACFTA became effective as of June 2019.

According to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce(DCC), it mainly imports 3 products from Africa as a whole: plastics, rubber and sugar. In 2018, the sum of imports from these nature surpassed $1.2 bn USD and has a potential to double in the upcoming years, as said in the website. Since 2012, the Emirates have had a more import than export ratio that has shown its mark with the nation’s “no tariff” policy, only certain products and markets are not included within the policy. The trading agreement was mostly focused on increasing the imports from developing economies in order to stimulate the growth of bi-lateral trading between mostly African nations and the UAE.

For the most part of the 21st centuries, developing economies in the African continent faced, and still face, the problem of oil refining infrastructure. Until the end of the 2000’s, the African tariffs on imported goods were notoriously known for being hefty and demotivating for firms. The solution came with the help of the DCC and the UAE. Now, the firms that could not afford to import refined oil could trade other goods with the UAE making a simple goods trade that involved low monetary quantities making it not only easy but profitable in the import/export market. Eventually the big tariffs were lifted and Dubai, together with other Emirates account for a large part of Kenya, Uganda and Sudan’s yearly imports.

The goal of the GBF Africa 2019 might be to further enhance the relation between Dubai and Africa, but most African countries have two very powerful mutual friends with the UAE; China and India. Not only are these two nations huge tycoons in African economies but also play a huge role in the Emirates, trading over $90 bn USD worth of goods among them in 2017 alone. The focus of China in Africa is scoped at extracting natural resources, much more natural gas than petroleum in the near future, and assisting in making nations more self-sustainable. There still is an untouched $500 m USD market potential for both India and China to profit from in Dubai according to the DCC.

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