As part of its strategy to reach out to the promising markets of the world, especially the African markets and to promote Dubai and the competitiveness of its business community globally, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry opened its third international office in Africa in the Mozambican capital of Maputo recently.
The new office, which is the fifth international office set up under Dubai Chamber’s international expansion strategy covering offices in Baku, Addis Ababa, Erbil and Accra to promote and attract foreign investments to the emirate, is seen as a window for UAE companies wishing to expand in sub-Saharan Africa and to explore lucrative investment opportunities in these untapped markets of the continent.
The opening of the international office in Mozambique came on the side-lines of the Chamber’s trade mission to both South Africa and Mozambique, which included a delegation comprising of Dubai’s most prominent businessmen and decision makers from key economic sectors.
Inaugurated by Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber who also led the delegation, the opening ceremony in Maputo was attended by Joaquim Chissano, former President of Mozambique, and Former Mozambican Prime Ministers Luisa Dias Diogo, and Aires Ali as well as Ernesto Max Tonela , Minister of Industry and Trade of Mozambique, Asim Mirza Al Rahma, UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Mozambique.
During the opening of the Maputo office, Al Ghurair pointed out that the new office reflects on Dubai business community’s heightened interest in the Mozambican market. He also stressed on the Chamber’s seriousness in strengthening its private sector’s presence in African markets based on Dubai's expertise and experience which he said serve as strong tools to facilitate their entry into these lucrative markets.
Al Ghurair added, "Dubai Chamber’s business expansion strategy into the African market is based on the directive of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to solidify our bilateral relations and encourage business and investment with Africa.
About Dubai’s non-oil trade with Mozambique in 2015, Al Ghurair said that this amounted to AED 724 million which is not very significant in light of the potential possessed by the two countries, adding that these figures can be increased 10 fold if both the trading partners fully utilised their capabilities to develop cooperation and this can include operating direct flights.
He called upon Mozambican companies to strengthen their presence in Dubai, as currently there are 29 companies registered under Dubai Chamber membership out of the 12,000 African companies operating in the emirate, he added.
Al Ghurair lauded the support provided by the UAE Embassy in Mozambique for facilitating the activities of the trade mission and for their support to the private sector in overcoming obstacles faced by the UAE investors.
On his part, Ernesto Max Tonela, Minister of Industry and Trade of Mozambique, who attended the ceremony and opened the Chamber office, said that this is a significant step in enhancing cooperation ties between the two countries as he expressed his government’s commitment to supporting the new office in promoting joint investments while making Mozambique a gateway for Emirati investments in the south African region.
He said, "We are looking forward to attract UAE investments to Mozambique as these will contribute to the economic growth and job creation while the country has a number of agreements and partnerships with the European Union and African countries (tripartite agreement FTA), which will allow many benefits for UAE investors in these markets."
On his part, Asim Mirza Al Rahma, the UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Mozambique stated that the Chamber office will open up the doors to enhanced cooperation and mutual investment opportunities as he also urged to expedite the ongoing negotiations for the signing of avoidance of double taxation which he said will lead to encouraging UAE businesses to invest in the Mozambican market.
During his meeting with the Dubai Chamber delegation, Carlos Agostinho do Rosario, Prime Minister of Mozambique, congratulated Dubai Chamber for opening its international office in Maputo which he said is a solid step towards building a stronger economic relationship between the two countries.
Also present at the meeting was the UAE Ambassador to Mozambique. Rosario assured the delegation of his government’s commitment to attracting UAE investments to his country by working together while ensuring all support to achieve the common interests of businesses from both the countries.
According to the Mozambican official statistics, UAE investments in Mozambique amounted to US $ 1.47 billion in 2015, which constitutes about 39% of the total foreign direct investment to the country, while UAE investments to Mozambique accounted for 30.7% of the total foreign direct investment in 2014.
On his part, Al Ghurair, informed the Mozambique Prime Minister of the Chamber’s commitment to stimulate joint investments cooperation through the new office, while calling for the Mozambican government’s support to overcome the obstacles that UAE investors may face in the areas of trade and food industries, logistics, transport and tourism.
He also highlighted the Chamber’s efforts in expanding into the African market by organising the Africa Global Business Forum as he invited the public and private sectors in Mozambique to participate in the fourth session of the Forum which will be held in Dubai next year.
Organised by Dubai Chamber on the side-lines of the trade mission, the public sector roundtable attended by Al Ghurair, Tonela, Al Rahma, and representatives of various Mozambican government agencies and authorities reviewed the opportunities in leading sectors like agriculture, agro-industry and natural resources, tourism and transport in addition to logistics, industry and infrastructure.
The Mozambican officials emphasised that their country is full of resources and people but without funds and know-how and the UAE is a country of funds and know-how so they both can cooperate to take advantage of their potentials.
They called for adding value to their industries including cotton, glass production, aluminium, iron, in addition to enhancing the packing and canning industries.
The panel also discussed the need to benefit from Dubai's experience in the logistics sector and power generation projects, as Mozambique has a scarcity of energy production, despite its potential to generate hydropower.
Other areas of interest to UAE investors included tourism and providing transportation to tourist islands in addition to creating the ideal infrastructure for attracting tourism.
Dubai Chamber also organised a panel discussion attended by more than 30 representatives of the private sector in Mozambique, where the two sides discussed the challenges and how to address them, while identifying opportunities for future partnerships between Dubai and Mozambican companies.
Some of the challenges discussed during the roundtable were lack of infrastructure, the need to train local manpower, amendment of legislations to attract foreign investment and project financing which also provide opportunities for foreign investors.