Dubai continues to strengthen its position as a gateway for African trade, according to Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman and CEO of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, who spoke at the Global Business Forum Africa 2021 in Dubai on Wednesday.
During a session titled The Evolution of Global Trade, Bin Sulayem highlighted the need to accelerate procedures for economic integration between the African states taking part in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as well as obstacles hindering its success.
He reiterated the importance of establishing comprehensive economic partnerships and benefit from Dubai's leading position a strategic trade hub connecting Africa and the region.
"African countries have made a remarkable progress under the Free Trade Agreement, and they must enhance their growth, building on the agreement, ensuring accelerated change, to develop their economic performance. Benefiting from successful experiences, these countries can identify challenges accurately, find necessary solutions, and achieve transformation to bolster their position in global trade. Dubai offers a strong platform for African economies and products to enhance their international reach. We can support significant initiatives in Africa, further strengthening long-term relations," said Bin Sulayem.
Also joining the session was Kebour Ghenna, executive director of Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI), who elaborated on the success of the trade agreement.
"AfCFTA has seen a great progress: 54 countries signed to join and 37 fulfilled their commitments. In addition, members have shown remarkable mutual understanding on many trade and economic issues, promising further achievements in the near future. African states must not wait for all the procedures to be completed; there is a data gap to be addressed, challenges to be faced through a unified vision, and solutions to be developed before implementing the AfCFTA in the best manner."
Dr. Deborah Elms, Founder and CEO of the Asian Trade Centre, concluded: "Africa has great potential and equally great challenges, which must be dealt seriously considering the different interests and approaches of every country. In particular, the most impactful ones are interests related to investments, digital economy transformation, intellectual property, certificates of origin, and others. These issues need to be agreed upon to find a format that ensures the ease of business and drives growth."
The 6th edition of GBF Africa is organised by Dubai Chamber in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai. Held under the theme Transformation Through Trade the two-day forum concludes on October 14.
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