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The Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) and the Association of Senates, Shura and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab World (ASSECAA) agreed to increase trade ties between African and Arab countries by up to fivefold.
The parties reached unanimously agreed to augment trade relations, highlighting the remarkably low trade volume between Africa and the Arab world.
Stakeholders discussed potential challenges and anticipated solutions related to increasing trade ties at the 4th Africa-Arab Legislators and Business Summit in Addis Ababa from August 2 to 3.
Abdulwasie Yusuf, ASSECAA Secretary-General, said that the current economic growth in Africa should attract Arab countries to invest in Africa.
“In the past, several wars and conflicts in Africa held Arab investors at bay. But now the situation has changed. Africa is developing rapidly and the business community should work to improve trade ties,” the Secretary-General said.
Compared to European and other Asian partners, Arabs have trailed in trade relations with Africa, although promising progress has been witnessed in the past decade.
In 2014, the Dubai-based Jumeirah Group expanded its operations into North Africa, signing a management agreement with Mauritius. The group is negotiating deals in Nigeria, Angola, Kenya and South Africa.
The recent deal between Emirates Airline, which already operates more than 160 flights a week to Africa, and TAAG Angola Airlines will improve connections to Central and Southern Africa.
The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts has also signed its first Memorandum of Guidance with their counterparts in the High Court of Kenya, advancing legal structures and fostering confidence for investors.
Kenya and Ethiopia are working with investors from the Middle East in the horticulture sector.
“Although African and Arab nations have had a long history, trade relations have not been as strong as they should be. Reducing trade barriers, increasing partnerships, developing Africa’s land for food production and enabling Arab investors to access it, and investing in African infrastructure are key to boosting trade ties,’’ said Kebour Ghenna, Executive Director of PACCI.