Dubai is seeing growing interest from Zimbabwean agribusiness companies that are keen to leverage the emirate as a strategic hub for boost trade, industry experts said during a recent webinar.
The virtual forum, organised by Dubai Chamber’s representative office in Mozambique in cooperation with DEAT Capital, DP World and Dubai Exports, examined existing trade synergies between the UAE and Zimbabwe and identified high-potential bilateral business opportunities in the agri-business sector.
A total of 535 participants from 44 countries attended the webinar, including food traders and representatives from value chain and logistics companies, agricultural producers, financial institutions, manufacturers, insurance and risk providers, export credit insurance agencies, business parks and special economic zones.
During the webinar, Anxious Masuka – Minister of Agriculture, expressed his government’s commitment to cooperating with the UAE to explore and cultivate win-win opportunities taking special consideration of the accelerated agricultural transformation unfolding in Zimbabwe.
In his keynote address, Masuka stated that Zimbabwe remains steadfast in its drive to re-engage with the rest of the world in doing business to grow its exports and ultimately realise its Vision 2030.
The minister elaborated on the Zimbabwean government’s new strategies and noted that “Zimbabwe is Open for Business from seed to fork”, and described the virtual forum as an “appropriate and opportune as it supports our objective to diversify and grow exports.”
Addressing participants, Majid Saif Al Ghurair, chairman of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, noted that the Chamber organised this webinar in response to growing interest from Zimbabwean public and private sector stakeholders who are keen to do business with their UAE counterparts. He highlighted the UAE’s National Food Security strategy 2051 as an ideal opportunity for businesses in both countries to align their efforts and achieve mutual benefits.
Dubai accounts for the most of the UAE’s trade with Zimbabwe, and the emirate’s non-oil trade with African country has increased from $490 million in 2011 to reach $939 million in 2019, Al Ghurair revealed, adding that there is still plenty of room to expand the scope of bilateral trade and investment.
For his part, Omar Khan – Director, International Offices, Dubai Chamber, spoke about the crucial role that the organisation’s representative offices in Africa play in identifying attractive business opportunities and supporting African companies with their entry into the Dubai market. He called on Zimbabwean companies to leverage Dubai’s vast competitive advantages to their benefit as they look to expand their global reach, adding that business in Dubai can offer valuable expertise and support to their Zimbabwean counterparts with communication, promotion, marketing, training, manufacturing, cold chain solutions and warehousing.
Saood Alkhloofi – strategic account manager, DP World said the African continent has long been a key focus of the company’s logistics and trade business. Following the adoption of the UAE’s food security strategy, DP World has anticipated potential growth areas in the F&B sector, and has a dedicated F&B cluster in Jafza for F&B businesses and have provided facilities and services to main F&B products such as Bread/Wheat, Fish, Sugar Refinery and Canned Food processing and packaging, he noted.
Other speakers included Ashraf Ali Mahate – chief economist, First Capital Bank and Amanda Siyengo – managing director, Amatini Global, who highlighted various advantages offered by Zimbabwe’s growing agri-business sector, as well as potential factors that can boost trade between the Southern Africa Development Community and the UAE.