DCCI, Northern Cape agree to bolster bilateral trade ties

DUBAI — The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) has agreed to promote the Northern Cape Province as a good foreign investment area among the businessmen here, and to further strengthen bilateral trade ties with South Africa, which counts the UAE as the second largest market for its products in the Middle East.

By Jose Franco

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Published: Tue 10 Jul 2007, 9:01 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:18 PM

One of the nine newly founded provinces in South Africa, Northern Cape offers many "favourable conditions for business development" that can attract UAE investments in mining, infrastructure and tourism sectors, among others, according to a delegation that met with DCCI officials yesterday.

Led by Dipuo Elizabeth Peters, Premier of Northern Cape, the Northern Cape Province Trade and Investment delegation stressed that the sparsely populated province has tremendous amount of land space and natural resources to accommodate investments from big companies in Dubai and the whole UAE.

Obaid Huamaid Al Tayer, chairman of DCCI, said the chamber believes in the potential of Northern Cape as an investment area, and that Dubai has had strong bilateral trade ties with South Africa. He noted that Dubai's non-oil trade with South Africa reached Dh2 billion in 2006.

"This is the right time and the best time for us to explore, and capitalise on the existing opportunities," he said. "We believe that one of our future opportunities is in Africa."

DCCI statistics show that South Africa is among Dubai's top eight trading partners for gold. Dubai imported from South Africa Dh518.29 million worth of precious and semi-precious stones, metals and jewellery in 2006. It re-exported the same products valued at Dh232.53 million to South Africa last year.

Al Tayer said the visit from the African delegation would certainly help to increase bilateral trade ties between the UAE and South Africa. He said there are 80 South African companies operating in Dubai, which is a gateway to more than 2.2 billion consumers.

He also stressed that Dubai enjoys a free market and a tax-free economy, which helped its total foreign non-oil trade to rise by 9.15 per cent to Dh523.5 billion in 2006 from Dh479.6 billion the previous year.

Stressing that the UAE and Northern Cape have both vast desert areas, Peters told participants in a trade seminar that members of her delegation wanted also to learn from Dubai and Abu Dhabi regarding their ongoing massive real estate development projects.

"It is our intention to learn from the UAE about its massive development projects in the desert," she said. "We are seeking to expand our horizon for foreign investments, which can utilise some part of the vast area of Northern Cape and the richness of its natural resources."

Members of the African delegation, which includes exporters of goat meat, mutton, vegetables, fruits and milk, said they were interested to increase South Africa's agricultural and meat exports to the UAE. Last year, South African exports of vegetables products and prepared foodstuffs to the UAE reached Dh209.89 million and Dh71.67 million, respectively.

Peters said her delegation would also visit the Jebel Ali Free Zone Area (JAFZA), one of Dubai's economic free zones, in order to learn about the incentives and facilities that it offers to foreign investors.

The delegation invited businessmen here to attend the annual diamond trade show in Kimberley, Northern Cape's capital, next month. Kimberley is a good area to invest in the processing of diamonds. South Africa, the world's largest producer and exporter of gold and platinum, also has the world's fourth largest diamond industry.



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