In line with its new strategy of reaching out to the promising markets of the world, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry today (Wednesday) inaugurated its first overseas office in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku which is seen as a giant leap forward in establishing the global presence of UAE companies in Central Asia and the Caucasus region.
The setting up of the maiden representative office will open up a gate of opportunities for Dubai Chamber members in the Azerbaijan market, especially in the areas of agriculture and food processing, transport and logistics, construction and infrastructure and other important sectors. It will also lead to a two-way trade as Azeri companies will get all the information they would need for entering the Dubai market and the rest of the GCC region through the emirate.
This opening of Dubai Chamber’s first representative office in Baku will be followed by a series of offices in areas offering high investment potential for Dubai businesses to explore the investment opportunities in these emerging markets safely and quickly.
Said H.E. Hamad Buamim, Director General, Dubai Chamber, "The opening of this first overseas representative office is part of Dubai Chamber’s new strategy to stir the economic growth of the emirate by promoting Dubai globally while enhancing its business competitiveness in the overseas market."
Buamim further stressed that the new office will provide easy access to Dubai’s business community in expanding their business interests in the markets of Central Asia while introducing and guiding them to the investment opportunities available in that part of the world. It will also help them to know about the prevailing legal regulations and requirements for setting up business in the country.
The announcement of the opening of the new office, which is located in a throbbing business district of the Azerbaijan capital Baku, came on the sidelines of the UAE-Azerbaijan Business Forum held on the second day of the four-day long trade mission.
In his presentation on UAE-Azerbaijan Synergies and Economic Partnerships, H.E. Hamad Buamim, Director General, Dubai Chamber, shed light on the investment opportunities in Dubai while highlighting its economic outlook as well as the potential areas of joint cooperation for Dubai and Azerbaijani businesses which could lead to successful economic partnership between the two sides.
Buamim pointed out at six major areas of joint economic cooperation including transport and logistics, construction and infrastructure, tourism and hospitality, agriculture and food processing industries, financial services and information and communication technology.
He highlighted Dubai’s status as an excellent re-export hub offering world-class logistical and infrastructural services to traders from Azerbaijan wanting to reach major consumer markets in the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa. Buamim also said Azeri companies can utilise Dubai’s expertise in developing public transport networks such as modern metro systems and rail connections as well as eco-friendly logistics solutions.
The Director General of Dubai Chamber stated that the construction sector holds strong investment potential for Dubai businesses, especially in the area of green buildings and in the provision of construction materials such as marble, tiles, aluminium, cement and bricks as well as establishing manufacturing facilities for these products.
On investment in the fast growing tourism sector, Buamim pointed out that Azerbaijan’s tourism and hospitality sector has strong growth potential with its forecasted 7.5% growth per annum from 2012 to 2022 due to the presence of natural and cultural sites in the country.
Due to its rich bio-diversity and many climate zones, Azerbaijan can be an ideal location to secure supply of fruits and vegetables and even flowers to Dubai. This will help meet food security needs of the UAE, said Buamim adding that Dubai businesses can contribute to the sector by investing in the development of agricultural machinery and techniques and production of fertilizers that will help improve food productivity for the country.
Buamim stated that Dubai’s financial sector has seen robust growth and can transfer its expertise in the areas of SME financing, insurance, Islamic financing and stock and commodity exchanges between the two countries. There is also scope in the ICT sector through provision of software, e-government technology and by bringing in quality high-speed internet connection in the Azerbaijan market, he said.
The highlights of the four-day visit from November 13 to 16 included the UAE-Azerbaijan Business Forum on November 14, with speeches by H.E. Niyazi Safarov, Azerbaijan Deputy Minister of Economic Development, H.E. Mohammed Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Economy, H.E. Elkhan Gahramanov, Azerbaijan Ambassador to the UAE, and H.E. Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber. Mr. Rufat Mammadov, Acting President, Azerbaijan Investment Promotion (AzPromo), also gave a presentation on Azerbaijan Country Overview.
Also, there are one-to-one business meetings scheduled between Dubai Chamber delegation and Azerbaijani businessmen later during the mission.
In his welcome address, H.E. Niyazi Safarov, Azerbaijan Deputy Minister of Economic Development, stated that Azerbaijan enjoys strong relations with Dubai Chamber and this opening of the new office goes in line with the discussions of the UAE-Azerbaijan Joint Economic Committee whose fourth session will be held in the UAE.
He added that the bilateral trade relationship between the two countries is growing and this forum will open new areas of cooperation for the two sides. He also said that the Ministry of Economic Development of Azerbaijan is committed to providing all facilities and support required for promoting stronger bilateral ties between the two trading partners.
The Deputy Minister of Economic Development of Azerbaijan also thanked flydubai for their efforts in cementing bilateral relationship between Dubai and Azerbaijan by providing direct flights to the country.
On his part, H.E. Mohammed Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Economy, thanked the Azerbaijan Ministry of Economic Development for their support in opening of the Dubai Chamber representative office in Baku which he said came as a direct result of the meetings of the UAE-Azerbaijan Joint Economic Committee held in May in Baku. This is a great achievement as it helps enhance the bilateral ties between the two countries, he said.
Al Shehhi informed that the trade between the UAE and Azerbaijan in the first nine months of the year was USD 300 million showing an increase of 24% in comparison to the same period last year. He added that the UAE companies have invested over USD 200 million in Azerbaijan.
H.E. Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber, said that the choice of Azerbaijan as a destination for the trade mission was based on an in-depth study which showed ample promise in various lucrative areas of investment in Azerbaijan as well as a gateway for investments in the CIS, Central Asia and the Caucasus region.
While delivering a vote of thanks, Al Ghurair stated that the objective of the trade mission was to support Dubai businesses to reach out to the Azerbaijan market and beyond in the Caucasus region while also attracting the country’s investors to the potential areas of investments in Dubai.
He thanked the Azerbaijan Embassy in the UAE, the UAE Embassy in Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijan Ministry of Economic Development, the UAE Ministry of Economy, Azpromo, and the Azerbaijan Investment Company for their cooperation in the success of the trade mission.
Azerbaijan is an economic leader in the South Caucasus region. It accounts for nearly 73% of the whole economy of this region and one of the leading economies in the CIS in terms of FDI per capita. The main sources of FDI for Azerbaijan are mainly from the UK, USA, Japan, Norway and Turkey. The cumulative FDI in 2011 amounted for approximately USD 4.4 billion.
After declaring independence from the former USSR, Azerbaijan reinforced its economic potential and established strong and firm macroeconomic stability. Today, Azerbaijan is one of the leading economies globally and according to ‘The Economist’, was the 2nd fastest growing economy among 179 countries in terms of GDP per capita between 2001 and 2010. In 2006 and 2007, the country’s GDP real growth averaged at 34.5% and 25% respectively.