- Dubai International Chamber successfully arranges 170 bilateral business meetings as West Africa trade mission kicks off in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
Dubai International Chamber, one of the three chambers operating under the umbrella of Dubai Chambers, launched its trade mission to West Africa yesterday with a special business forum in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The chamber successfully coordinated more than 170 bilateral business meetings between representatives of 15 companies from Dubai operating across 10 sectors and their counterparts in West Africa as part of the ‘Doing Business with Côte d’Ivoire’ event.
Organised by Dubai International Chamber in partnership with the Centre for the Promotion of Investment in Côte d'Ivoire with the support of the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Abidjan, the Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire in the UAE, and the Côte d’Ivoire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the forum attracted more than 220 attendees. Participants included senior government figures, prominent business leaders, and African companies seeking to establish economic partnerships with the Dubai-based businesses participating in the chamber's trade mission.
The event featured speeches from H.E. Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers; H.E. Siandou Fofana, Minister of Tourism of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, H.E. Ali Yousef Al Nuaimi, UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire; and Mr. Faman Touré, President of the Côte d'Ivoire Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
During his welcome address, H.E. Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, commented: “We are keen to strengthen our trade and investment ties with Côte d'Ivoire, which is one of the key markets on the African continent. We see tremendous opportunities across various sectors of the economy including industry, agriculture, trade, construction, and infrastructure, and look forward to working together to increase the exports of the business community in Dubai and help companies enter this promising market.”
H.E. Lootah added: “We will continue to focus on achieving our strategic priorities and supporting the international expansion of Dubai-based companies to contribute to boosting Dubai's foreign trade to AED 2 trillion by 2026. We are confident this trade mission will foster stronger connections, increase bilateral trade and investments, and create mutually beneficial partnerships to drive the success of the business communities in both Dubai and Côte d'Ivoire.”
H.E. Siandou Fofana, Minister of Tourism of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, commented: “Dubai serves as a global economic model, and the organisation of this business forum is a clear indication of our shared desire to strengthen bilateral relations.” H.E. Fofana added that Côte d'Ivoire is recognised as the world’s largest exporter of cashew nuts and a major exporter of cocoa, and highlighted opportunities to increase exports of rubber, coffee, cotton, and palm oil.
H.E. Ali Yousef Al Nuaimi, UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, commented: “Côte d'Ivoire is one of the most significant markets in Africa due to its strategic location, active investment climate, good infrastructure, and growing economy. As a result, many international companies have entered the local market.”
H.E. Ali Yousef Al Nuaimi added: “In 2021, the UAE signed a series of agreements with Cote d’Ivoire aimed at encouraging and protecting investments, avoiding double taxation, and enhancing air transport services. These measures will support UAE investments in the country and help them to reach higher levels.”
Memorandum of Understanding
During the forum, Dubai Chambers signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Côte d'Ivoire Chamber of Commerce and Industry aimed at enhancing cooperation in areas including organising trade missions, exhibitions, conferences, training, and other events. The agreement also encompasses the exchange of knowledge and experience, with the goal of strengthening relationships between the two markets and boosting bilateral trade and investments for the benefit of both markets. The MoU was signed by H.E. Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, and Mr. Faman Touré, President of the Côte d'Ivoire Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Salem Al Shamsi, Vice President of Global Markets at Dubai Chambers, delivered an informative presentation on Dubai’s economic landscape and outlined the numerous competitive advantages the emirate offers for African companies, businesspeople, and investors in Côte d'Ivoire.
The trade mission is the latest activity under the ‘New Horizons’ initiative spearheaded by Dubai International Chamber, which is aimed at driving the international expansion of Dubai-based businesses in targeted priority markets. The initiative enables companies to join international roadshows and trade fairs to gain first-hand experience in new territories, with the goal of exploring potential investment opportunities and economic partnerships. These trade missions will play a vital role in achieving Dubai’s goal of increasing non-oil foreign trade to AED 2 trillion by 2026, in line with the emirate's five-year trade plan.
According to Dubai Customs data, the value of the emirate’s non-oil trade with Côte d'Ivoire reached around AED 1.8 billion in 2022, representing a YoY growth of 12.5%. A total of four new companies from Côte d'Ivoire joined as members of Dubai Chamber of Commerce during the first nine months of this year, a figure the chamber is eager to increase by strengthening connections with the local business community.
A panel discussion was held as part of the forum, which brought together expert speakers in the fields of logistics, customs legislation, and the investment and financial sectors in Côte d'Ivoire. The panellists explored the advantages of doing business in the country and shared their knowledge of the local business landscape with the visiting delegation from Dubai during an interactive Q&A session. This was followed by a series of bilateral business meetings between representatives of companies from Dubai and Côte d'Ivoire.
Business sectors represented by the participating companies included chemicals; construction; food and beverages; healthcare; hospitality; mining; oil and gas; retail; shipping and logistics; and stationery and office supplies.
The New Horizons West Africa trade mission is aligned with Dubai International Chamber’s goal of supporting the global expansion of 100 Dubai businesses by the end of 2024. In addition to assisting Dubai-based companies with their international growth plans, the chamber works to ensure the emirate remains a magnet for foreign direct investment, bolstered by its powerful network of international offices worldwide.