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Lubna affirms solid African ties at 1st African Business Forum in Dubai

posted on 21/10/2008: 665 views

UAE Minister of Foreign Trade H.E. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi discussed productive economic and trade relations between the UAE and Africa yesterday, the first session of the inaugural edition of the African Business Forum in Dubai which will run until October 21 at the Burj Al Arab Hotel.

She also formally opened the historic event in the presence of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and current ABF Chairman.

The Minister emphasized the strong commercial and investment relations between Africa and UAE and urged business and government leaders to capitalize on the networking opportunities provided by the Forum. She also affirmed her Ministry's commitment to enhancing the UAE's regional and international trade relations.

"The UAE has maintained close economic and commercial ties with Africa; from a business perspective, the proximity of our region with the continent makes it a more convenient partner compared to Western companies.

'In the spirit of diversification, our non-oil foreign trade with the continent exceeded Dh70 billion in 2007, ranking third after Asia and the Pacific and Europe. Emirati business interests are particularly interested in the potential of Africa's rapidly expanding ports, tourism, real estate and construction, hospitality, telecommunications and financial markets and have invested considerably in these sectors."

The Minister commended the African Embassies based in UAE and Saudi Arabia for their key participation in the event's preparation. She also discussed the UAE's various business- and investment-friendly incentives and commended the ABF's potential in enhancing trade and economic relations between Africa and the UAE.

Guest Speaker Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, President of the African Business Roundtable and Chairman of NEPAD Business Group, delivered a speech on 'Investment Opportunities in Africa.' The main purpose of the African Business Forum in Dubai is to gather Ministers of Trade and Industry and business executives from African countries for productive dialogue on African trade, business and commerce alongside their UAE partners.

Participating delegates will explore areas of economic potential with a view to arriving at memoranda of understanding. African delegates will visit key Dubai industrial and business sites during their stay. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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