Partnerships to strengthen UAE-Africa food trade

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Between 2019 and 2020, Dubai saw an increase of six per cent to $7.9 billion in food trade
Between 2019 and 2020, Dubai saw an increase of six per cent to $7.9 billion in food trade

Zimbabwe boasts five ecological regions that allow the country to produce diverse products


Rohma Sadaqat

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Published: Wed 26 Jan 2022, 4:21 PM

Dubai’s position as a global logistics hub make it the perfect destination for companies that are interested in strengthening the UAE-Africa food trade sector, experts highlighted at a webinar on Wednesday.

Speaking at the ‘Tap into Dubai’s F&B sector’ webinar, organised by the Dubai Chamber, in association with The Corporate Group and ZimTrade, Omar Khan, director of International Offices at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the potential of growing trade between the UAE and the African continent.

“We are all recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, physically, mentally, and also economically. However, our attitude here in the UAE and Dubai is always on how we have to move forward. This is a new world and we can’t sit and wait for things to happen to us. We have to make things happen ourselves, and we always believed that everything should be done with partnerships,” he said.

Khan also revealed that between 2019 and 2020, Dubai saw an increase of six per cent to $7.9 billion in food trade, in terms of packaged food, while fresh food increased by four per cent. “Online sales also have reached 255 per cent, which is good news for people bringing products into the Dubai Market, because you are no longer restricted with the real estate in the physical stores. That means you have different vendors and a wider range of opportunities and less of a monopolized or an oligopoly in terms of a few big names.”

“Chainstores are also becoming more and more diverse, so new products have a wider range of homes when it comes to physical and e-commerce trade,” he added. “Everything from fresh meat to fresh produce is now going online. And, this is opening a lot of channels in cross border e-commerce.”

Khan also highlighted how Dubai is a “tremendous” global logistics hub. “What you bring into Dubai, you can take out to the world. We are working with India, Brazil, USA, Canada, Australia, and a lot of African countries right now, and we want to also bring our Zimbabwe partners and companies closer to us. The UAE is a net importer of food products so it is very important for anybody who is exporting. This is why it is important to understand the market, to see the price points, understand who the competition is, and identify enablers.”

In his presentation to the attendees, Allan Majuru, CEO of ZimTrade, noted that food exports from Zimbabwe are focused on health and wellbeing. “As a country, we are a non-GMO country and that has given us a niche,” he said. “We also have the capacity to go organic in terms of producing for exports.”

Besides the niche climate which gives special supply windows, Zimbabwe also boasts five ecological regions that allow Zimbabwe to produce diverse products. Exports to the UAE in 2019, Majuru said, stood at around $4.5 million. He expects this number to increase as more countries, like the UAE, look to Zimbabwe’s food exports sector.

“We pride ourselves in our climate giving us a competitive advantage in terms of the quality of fresh produce that we export,” he said. “I can guarantee you right now, if you go to Europe and see our products on the shelves and you try some of them, you will know that they are from Zimbabwe because of how organic and natural they are.”

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