Africa has 'a key role' in Dubai's Silk Road Strategy
Africa can play an important role in Dubai's Silk Road Strategy and benefit from changing dynamics in global trade, Nadya Abdulla Kamali, CEO, Dubai Customs World, said on Tuesday.
At the Global Business Forum Africa 2019 organised by Dubai Chamber, Kamali said the whole world is looking at Africa for trade opportunities. "That's why Dubai embarked on new initiative in 2019 --- the Dubai Silk Road Strategy. The government's approach to looking at Africa is how to unlock the potential. The infrastructure is there, the trade treaties are there. these aren't the challenges any more. The challenges are the lack of soft skills and capabilities," she said.
"You can have best port, the best airport and the best train station, but the trade facilitation is not there. If we want hubs in Africa to be recognised as trade hubs, we need to sell those hubs as functioning properly. You need to able to reach your destination without being interrupted, in terms of customs, in terms of clearance. it's not just dropping your goods. It's clearing your goods," Kamali added.
Sessions on the second day of the forum put the spotlight on the potential impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on trade and investment in Africa, and the important role of entrepreneurs in driving the continent's growth and development.
Dr Ruhakana Ruganda, Prime Minister of Uganda, said during an opening session that his country is using innovation to solve social challenges, drive its development, and create new employment opportunities.
Ruganda shared his insights on how Uganda is fostering innovation and technology to unlock its economic potential, citing the example of mobile technology being used to register and track valuable data, address existing issues and improve access to education.
"We are starting to see African countries remove visas. Previously, Africans did not facilitate Africans travelling - but this unlocks services potential. Now, 21 countries have e-Visas and visas on arrival, like the UAE. The rest of the world is building walls; Africa is building bridges," said Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Switzerland, while commenting on the AfCFTA and Africa's shift towards regional integration.
Stephen Karingi, director, Regional Integration and Trade Division, UN Economic Commission for Africa, Ethiopia, said that Rwandan President has driven the reform committee of the African Union during his tenure as chair of the organisation.
Admassu Tadesse, president and chief executive officer, Trade and Development Bank said that for Africa, the last decade has been unprecedented in terms of growth. He explained that the continent is seeing more cross-border investment than ever before.