DUBAI: Africa is the destination for future investments and a region in which Islamic finance could and, indeed, should thrive, Omar Khan, Director of International Offices, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry said during the Dubai Week in Africa 2021 Virtual Expo.
The virtual event, organised by the UAE Trade Centre, aimed to build resilient trade relations between the UAE and Kenya by hosting inspiring panel discussions on vibrant business segments like export and trade, free zone and investment, e-commerce and Islamic economy.
During the panel session, titled Halal Food Trading and Positioning in International Market, Khan described the event as an ideal platform for open and constructive dialogue on where businesses in Dubai and Africa can build bridges of cooperation that create mutual benefits and economic growth.
“Islamic economy remains a key area of focus for Dubai Chamber’s representative offices in Africa that are actively identifying new business opportunities for our members. Our activities on the continent are consistent with the efforts of Dubai in the consolidation of the emirate’s status as a global capital of Islamic economy, while we see this market as a high-potential avenue for driving Dubai-Africa economic partnerships in the near future,” said Khan.
Dubai’s ongoing efforts to enhance its position as a gateway to African markets has led to an increase in food trade between the two sides in recent years, Khan explained, adding that the UAE is one of Africa’s top export markets for fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products.
Khan noted that Dubai’s non-oil trade with Africa has surged by nearly 42% over the 2014-2019 period, and the number of African companies registering with Dubai Chamber has grown to exceed 17,000 today, adding that Dubai’s non-oil trade with East Africa amounted to $12.5 billion in 2019.
In addition, he encouraged African companies to participate in the Gulfood 2021 and Expo 2020 Dubai, as they provide an ideal platform for these businesses to boost their global profile, explore new growth opportunities and build cross-border partnerships.
The panel session was also joined by Johnson Weru, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry in Kenya; Saleh Lootah, Chairman, Food & Beverage Manufacturing group; Amina Ahmed Mohamed, CEO, Emirates International Accreditation Centre (EIAC); and Brenda Denousse, General Manger, Brookside Dairy Ltd.