Dubai Exports, the export promotion agency of the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, recently received a high-level delegation from Ghana as part of its efforts to assist exporters to tap the fast-growing African markets.
The two sides discussed the export potential in Ghana for Dubai based firms and how this can be capitalized. The talks also covered ways to leverage the relationship between the two for stronger bilateral engagement and wider market access. Dubai Exports and its Ghanaian counterpart also explored the possibility of signing a memorandum of understanding to facilitate knowledge sharing and support companies in their respective countries.
The delegation’s visit came close on the heels of a successful seminar on ‘Exporting Opportunities in Africa,’ organised by Dubai Export Academy, a Centre of Excellence for export-related knowledge under the Dubai Exports umbrella. “Africa is very much on our radar and we intend to build on our efforts through the Dubai Export Academy, which has already held a number of highly successful seminars highlighting the opportunities in the continent. These seminars have shown that exporters in Dubai cannot afford to ignore the continent,” commented Engineer Saed Al Awadi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Exports.
“In 2012 we intend to target the vast African market across diverse channels and mechanisms. We believe that each region in the African continent requires a distinct approach. For instance, in East Africa we intend to conduct a trade mission in association with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the South, we plan to participate in exhibitions, most notably the Africa Big 7. In the North, we intend to have a road show and in the West, we plan to have a combination of an exhibition and a trade mission,” said Al Awadi.
Referring to Ghana as one of the fastest emerging markets in Africa, Al Awadi said Dubai Exports will soon be leading a trade mission to Ghana to build on the high level of interest in the West African country among UAE exporters.
One of the most stable and peaceful countries in Africa, Ghana is on course to emerging into a globally competitive business and investment destination. With infrastructure being expanded and a burgeoning middle class reaping the benefits of ongoing economic reforms, demand for capital goods as well as consumer products has gone up exponentially in the country.
Ghana and its growth targets are estimated to attract phenomenal investment and export of goods and services into key sectors, especially the construction, mines, transportation, information and communications technology, banking, insurance, education, hospitality, healthcare and food sectors.
The consumer goods market in Ghana has been growing at an average of 20 per cent since 2002, chiefly driven by demand for automobile parts, mobile phones, cosmetics, electronics and home appliances.
Bilateral engagement between the UAE and Ghana has expanded steadily over the years. The UAE imported US$353 million worth of goods from Ghana in 2010 while UAE exports to Ghana stood at US$144 million. Besides, universities and hospitals in Dubai attract a considerable number of people from Ghana every year.
During his talks with the Ghanaian delegation Al Awadi stressed Dubai’s advantages as a well-connected regional hub. “As a signatory to the Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement (GAFTA), the UAE offers the best location for Ghanaian businesses to target the wider Gulf region and benefit from the agreement, provided they meet the country of origin rules,” he said.
The visiting delegation meanwhile added that Ghana can offer a convenient gateway to the vibrant West African market for Dubai firms.
Members of the delegation included Honourable Seth Adgei-Baah, Member of Parliament and President of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and industry; George Aboagye, Chief Executive, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre; Kwadwo Twum Boafo, Executive Director, Ghana Free Zones Board, and Ebenezar Kone, Chief Executive, Ghana Trade Fair Authority.