AfCFTA is set to officially launch in January 2021

AfCFTA is set to officially launch in January 2021

Dubai-Africa trade to see 10pc increase in 5 years

September 2020

Dubai’s trade with Africa could see an annual increase of up to 10 per cent over the next five years following the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), according to Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s latest forecast.

The outlook for Dubai-Africa trade and new bilateral business opportunities created by AfCFTA were among the main topics covered during a recent webinar organised by Dubai Chamber’s representative offices in Africa. The virtual event, held in cooperation with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and ABSA Group, was attended by 340 businesspeople from the UAE, Africa and other markets.

A presentation from Dubai Chamber’s Economic Research Department noted that changing dynamics brought forth by AfCFTA and the Covid-19 situation have created an opportunity for businesses in Dubai to re-position themselves and explore new African markets.

AfCFTA, set to officially launch in January 2021, is expected to unlock new business prospects across Africa, with logistics, cold storage and warehousing, manufacturing, agribusiness, infrastructure, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, and technology, identified as key sectors where which Dubai businesses can tap into new opportunities. 

Dubai’s trade with Africa has increased significantly over the last five years, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11 per cent. Over the same period, imports from Africa increased by 14 per cent, exports increased by 13 per cent and re-exports by 6 per cent. Bilateral non-oil trade reached nearly AED 1 trillion ($272 billion) over the 2011-2019 period.

“AfCFTA will offer a huge opportunity for UAE investors who will be able to do business on a single set of trade and investment rules across the African continent. Dubai is well placed to benefit from the landmark trade agreement due to its status as a preferred re-export hub for African traders and strong presence of UAE companies in African markets and vice versa,” Omar Khan, Director of International Offices at Dubai Chamber said during his welcome remarks.

Salmaan Jaffery, Chief Business Development Officer, DIFC, revealed that 5 per cent of companies and 10 per cent of the workforce at DIFC are from Africa.

Connecting 1.3 billion people across 55 countries, the AfCFTA will create the largest free trade area in the world with a combined GDP valued at $3.4 trillion.  

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