Sultan Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman & CEO, DP World on the importance of infrastructure
SULTAN BIN SULAYEM: We are building the markets and connecting better with them. Today with Emirates Airline that serves most of the African countries, a lot of traders come and go to Dubai and utilize Dubai as a source of whatever they need. We put importance on that.
We are also investing and if you look at the ports we have in Africa, we have key ports; Sokhna in Egypt, we have Algeria in Algiers. We have Dakar in Senegal. We have Maputo in Mozambique. We have Berbera in Somaliland recently and we have also Djibouti, which is a major port for Ethiopia.
These are key ports that are serving Africa. So, we are translating a relation into action plans, and that facilitates trade and that improves and reduces the cost for the African countries.
So, if you look at me and tell me what is your priority in the world, I would say Africa, maybe the Pacific side of Latin America and South-East Asia. And I'll put Africa on the top because of the growth potential and the experience we have with African countries, definitely.
Essa Al-Ghurair, Chairman, Essa Al-Ghurair Investments on Dubai as a springboard to Africa
ESSA AL-GHURAIR: I think it's a very strategic relationship that we are striving for between the UAE and Africa. We'd like to be a springboard for companies from Africa to the world and from the world to Africa.
A city like Dubai can play a role in bringing these two worlds together in one place. There's a lot of good connectivity from the UAE to Africa and mind you to say that the first regional office for the Dubai Chamber of Commerce was established in Africa.
So it shows how the business community and the business people here view Africa as an important partner to this part of the world.
Mohammed Al Raqbani, General Manager, Dubai Investments Industries on the investment environment in Africa
MOHAMMED AL RAQBANI: If you look at the numbers, the UAE in general I think is the fourth largest foreign direct investment in Africa. These are the figures of 2015, with about $4.2bn invested in FDI. If you look at the merchandise number, it has grown from I think around $5bn to $17.6bn dollars, these are 2014 numbers.
So, it's a growing market. Plus, it's a virgin market for us. There are many opportunities.
We look at investing in manufacturing. If we open one of our manufacturing plants in, let's say Angola. We wanted to cater for the rest of the African market in East Africa. So, we don't look to invest in one country to cater for that particular country, but to cater for the whole of Africa market.
Adel Al Zarouni, Managing Director, Rivoli Group on the historic relationship between the UAE and Africa
ADEL AL ZAROUNI: I've been on a trip with a Chamber delegation to East Africa, which is the emerging market of Africa at the moment, especially Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Mozambique. These are the areas which seem to be very interesting and we have a historical relationship between Dubai and these countries.
They have the population, they have the numbers, they have a lot of natural resources and agriculture, and things like that. So there is a lot of potential there to do business.
Rassem Zok, MENA CEO, Standard Bank on growing trade and business ties
RASSEM ZOK: I think I will say that the relationship between the UAE and the African countries has evolved very positively over the past 10 years, with increasing economic and trade flows between the UAE and those countries.
So, it's been a very good relationship and I think it's increasing in intensity and volume. I think that's a very positive evolution.
Being Africa's largest bank and having a strong presence on the ground here in Dubai as a regional hub, we are very well placed to facilitate trade flow, commercial flows, business flows between the UAE and the African continent.