Monday 02, October 2017 by Jessica Combes

Gulf states to explore opportunities at Africa investment conference


The high-level forum is set to gather 400 business leaders and government representatives to discuss opportunities for trade and investment across Africa.

More than 400 decision-makers, including government officials and business leaders, will meet in Dubai this week to discuss foreign investment opportunities in Africa during ALN’s (formerly Africa Legal Network) fourth Annual International Conference, “Africa: Bridging the Gulf” on 4-5 October at the Park Hyatt, Dubai, UAE. 

“The conference comes at an opportune time as new frontier markets are ripe with  investment opportunities across the African continent, due to rapid urban growth, a rising middle class and increased globalisation. This year, panel sessions utilise expertise from the ALN network and its deep understanding of the African region - covering important topics such as risk management, infrastructure, real estate and innovation, while giving investors a clear view of the various challenges in Africa, and how these can be overcome,” said Dr. Cheick Modibo Diarra, ALN Chairman and former Malian Prime Minister.

He added that as many Gulf countries and Africa diversify their economies following the recent commodities slump, Middle East capital is certainly searching for viable investment opportunities and Africa presents a compelling proposition. This year, ALN Aims to build on the success of our previous conferences and hope to foster stronger ties between Africa and the Gulf.

The invite-only event is set to bring together a number of top-level participants, including UAE Minister for Culture, Youth and Social Development, His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan; Former President of the Republic of Nigeria, HE Olusegun Obasanjo; and Dr Diarra, amongst many others.

The opening panel session will be based on the book “Making Africa Work” which was co-authored by the Director of Brenthurst Foundation, Dr. Greg Mills and presented by HE Olusegun Obasanjo.

At a time when trade between the two regions is at an all-time high, Gulf states are no strangers to the vast investment opportunites across the African continent.  Dubai’s DP World, the third-largest global port operator, has for example, over 30 investment projects across Africa, including marine terminals in Dakar and Maputo. Within the region, the UAE is Africa’s leading trading partner with approximately 80 per cent of the imports from Africa being primary products, such as food produce and beverages. Total non-oil trade between the two regions is valued at about $24 billion: a 700 per cent increase over the last decade, according to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce. 

During the event, delegates will explore the paths to Africa’s investment potential, how leveraging innovation and technology can accelerate growth in Africa, and discuss trade and investment opportunities that are opening up across the continent. 

“Following last year’s success, we are very excited to participate in the ALN conference for the second time. With Nigeria witnessing one of the largest inflows of Gulf investments over the last decade, investors are noticing the opportunities for cooperation between the two regions, and are tapping into them. Our Branch in Dubai serves as a gateway for these investors to trade effortlessly from Asia to Africa,” said Jamie Simmonds, Chief Executive Officer of The Access Bank UK. 

Widely acknowledged as the gateway to Africa for its global connectivity, concentration of corporate headquarters and geographical location at the heart of important trade corridors, Dubai is the perfect location for the Annual International Conference.


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