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UAE is Now the Largest Gulf Region Investor in Sub-Saharan Africa – EIU

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A new report published by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has revealed UAE as the largest investor from the Gulf region in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The report, based on a survey of 200 business leaders in sub-Saharan Africa, found that UAE has invested $1.2 billion in Sub-Saharan Africa over the past five years, accounting for 88 per cent of investment between January 2016 and July 2021.

Commissioned by Dubai Chamber, the report examined several trends reshaping the business landscape in Africa during the pandemic, African markets’ responses to new challenges, and the post-pandemic business outlook.

The report also highlighted prospects for boosting trade and investment flows between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Africa in the near future.

A key insight from the report identified fintech, healthcare, agriculture, and e-commerce as high-potential sectors where business leaders see revenues expanding in 2022.

The report stated that around 90 per cent of surveyed executives said they expect fintech to see the most growth in 2022, followed by healthcare (89 per cent) and agriculture and food (87 per cent).

In business exchange, the report highlighted burdensome regulations and bureaucracy, lack of public amenities, inadequate roads, and weak digital infrastructure as the key obstacles limiting bilateral business exchange.

It further elaborated on the roles that African companies can play in supporting Gulf economies and expanding into the region.

Hamad Buamim, President & CEO of Dubai Chamber, said the findings from the report shed light on vast untapped business potential in Africa, which UAE companies can capitalise on. According to him, the report supports Dubai Chamber’s efforts to identify new business opportunities and drive bilateral trade.

“Africa is one of our biggest trading partners and is fundamental to our economic growth. Meanwhile, Dubai has long been a favoured destination for African companies and a launchpad for businesses looking to expand out of the continent and into global markets. Providing accurate data and studies about emerging markets is part of our efforts to shed light on investment opportunities for Dubai’s business community,” Buamim added.

The report recommends the need for African governments to provide the basics, including legislation, regulations, and infrastructure, to promote growth in key sectors. As part of the takeaways, the report also highlights the digital economy as a leading engine of the continent’s growth, before underlining the role that GCC countries can play to support Africa to bridge the gaps in its infrastructure.

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