The Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), Dubai’s sovereign wealth fund, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Kexim) to ally to explore international investment and export finance opportunities, particularly in Africa.
Kexim is the official trade finance agency of the Republic of Korea with a remit to provide export finance or support international investments in which Korean parties participate.
The alliance spans a broad geographical area, but interest is expected to focus on Sub-Saharan Africa, where Korean companies are hoping to tap into the rising demand for infrastructure development, as well as opportunities in healthcare and energy sectors.
“Dubai has the connectivity and Korea has the technology,” Mohammed Al Shaibani, CEO of the ICD told ft.com. “That is a great synergy.”
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, an ICD board member, further stated: “ICD is very pleased to be entering into this venture with Kexim, which provides an unpDaralleled level of connectivity with the Korean business community, companies with proven credentials and financial strength.”
Dubai has rapidly emerged as an important hub for African trade, thanks to its logistical capacities and interconnectivity, and increasingly as a hub for the pan-continental operations of international companies, including firms from India, China and across Asia.
Hamad Buamim, president of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry concurred in a recent report that economic reforms, rising fiscal spending and growing ties with economies in Asia were together the three main factors supporting growth in the Sub-Saharan economy.
African officials and businessmen are also choosing to hold meetings and travel through Dubai in growing numbers, increasing the emirate’s estimated $30bn trade with Africa, while the ICD-Kexim partnership will further bolster a figure $10bn for Dubai-Korea trade.
Korean companies have been particularly notable internationally in the construction sector over the last decade, with Samsung C&T working on Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, while a Korean consortium is now undertaking the $20bn contract to build the UAE’s nuclear power stations.
The Investment Corporation of Dubai meanwhile holds a diversified group of assets, with its portfolio including many of the Emirate of Dubai’s flagship assets, such as Emirates Airlines, Emirates National Bank of Dubai, Dubai Islamic Bank, Borse Dubai, Dubal and ENOC.