With one month remaining, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has intensified its preparations for the Africa Global Business Forum 2014, confirming heads of states and prominent business leaders to lead panels that will explore the future of business in Africa.
Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, this year’s forum will focus on collaboration on infrastructure, overcoming trade barriers and the GCC’s global role for the continent.
“The forum reinforces the status of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as a gateway for trade to and from the African continent,” announced H.E. Hamad Buamim, president of the Dubai Chamber.
“It also serves as an ideal platform for regional business leaders to engage in a highly constructive dialogue with leading decision-makers on the global investment scene, as well as prominent stakeholders from the African Union and economic blocs.”
Among the most prominent participants will be H.E. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, H.E. President Mulatu Teshome Wirtu of Ethiopia and H.E. President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana, while the UAE state will be represented by H.E. Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and MD for Dubai Expo 2020, and H.E. Sultan Al Mansour, UAE Minister of Economy.
Business will be represented by Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, Ashish Thakkar of the Mara Group, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, president of the African Development Bank, Stephen Schwarzman, chairman of the Blackstone Group, and Tony Fernandes, CEO of Air Asia.
On the UAE’s business side, the event will be attended by H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline, H.E. Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman of DP World, H.E. Mohammed Al Shaibani, CEO of the Investment Corporation of Dubai.
The newly appointed Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, will also be speaking.
In all, the 2nd Africa Global Business Forum will be attended by 500 top government and private officials including ministers and dignitaries, prominent CEOs and the heads of banks, sovereign wealth funds, private equity firms and African investment promotion agencies.
Hosted at the Atlantis The Palm, the event will tap into a rising tide of African partnership with Dubai that has seen a 171% rise in African companies registering with Dubai’s Chamber from 2008 to 2013, while non-oil trade increased by 141% from $10.3bn to $24.9bn.
The continent is also a vital and growing trade partner of Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the GCC, which witnessed 40.2% growth from 2005 to 2012 in its total trade with the continent, rising from $10.2bn to $14.3bn, according to the UN international trade database.
The proximity of the Kingdom to the continent has resulted in significant existing investment ties, particularly with Sudan and Ethiopia, and total investment from the private sector was estimated to be $1.23 trillion at the recent 2nd Gulf African investment Conference in Riyadh.