Zimbabwe agribusiness firms focus on Dubai to boost trade


Dubai is seeing growing interest from Zimbabwean agribusiness companies that are keen to leverage the emirate as a strategic hub to boost trade, industry experts said during a webinar, held recently.

The virtual forum, organised by the representative office of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Mozambique in cooperation with DEAT Capital (a financial advisory firm), DP World and Dubai Exports, examined existing trade synergies between the UAE and Zimbabwe and identified high-potential bilateral business opportunities in the agri-business sector.

A total of 535 participants from 44 countries attended the webinar. The attendees included food traders and representatives from value chain and logistics companies, producers of agricultural products, financial institutions, manufacturers, insurance and risk providers, export credit insurance agencies, business parks and special economic zones.

During the webinar, Dr. Anxious Masuka – Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement of Zimbabwe, expressed his government’s commitment to cooperating with the United Arab Emirates to explore and cultivate win-win opportunities taking special consideration of the accelerated agricultural transformation unfolding in Zimbabwe. In his keynote address, Dr Masuka stated that Zimbabwe remains steadfast in its drive to re-engage with the rest of the world in doing business to grow its exports and ultimately realise its Vision 2030.

The minister elaborated on Zimbabwe government’s new strategies and noted that “Zimbabwe is open for business from seed to fork”, and described the virtual forum as an “appropriate and opportune as it supports the objective of his country to diversify and grow exports.”

Addressing participants, Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, noted that the Chamber organised this webinar in response to growing interest from Zimbabwean public and private sector stakeholders who are keen on doing business with their UAE counterparts. He highlighted the UAE’s National Food Security strategy 2051 as an ideal opportunity for businesses in both countries to align their efforts and achieve mutual benefits.

Dubai accounts for the most of the UAE’s trade with Zimbabwe, and the emirate’s non-oil trade with African country has increased from $490 million in 2011 to reach $939 million in 2019, Al Ghurair revealed, adding that there is still plenty of room to expand the scope of bilateral trade and investment.

For his part, Omar Khan – Director, International Offices, Dubai Chamber, spoke about the crucial role that the organisation’s representative offices in Africa play in identifying attractive business opportunities and supporting African companies with their entry into the Dubai market. He called on Zimbabwean companies to leverage Dubai’s vast competitive advantages to their benefit as they look to expand their global reach, adding that business in Dubai can offer valuable expertise and support to their Zimbabwean counterparts with communication, promotion, marketing, training, manufacturing, cold chain solutions and warehousing.

Saood Alkhloofi – Strategic Account Manager, DP World said the African continent has long been a key focus of the company’s logistics and trade business. Following the adoption of the UAE’s food security strategy, DP World has anticipated potential growth areas in the F&B sector, and has a dedicated F&B cluster in Jafza for F&B businesses and have provided facilities and services to main F&B products such as Bread/Wheat, Fish, Sugar Refinery and Canned Food processing and packaging, he noted.

Other speakers included Dr. Ashraf Ali Mahate – Chief Economist, First Capital Bank and Amanda Siyengo – Managing Director, Amatini Global, who highlighted various advantages offered by Zimbabwe’s growing agri-business sector, as well as potential factors that can boost trade between the Southern Africa Development Community and the UAE.

Established in 1965, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry is a non-profit public entity, whose mission is to represent, support and protect the interests of the business community in Dubai by creating a favourable business environment, supporting the development of business, and by promoting Dubai as an international business hub.

Dubai Ports World is an Emirati multinational logistics company based in Dubai. It specialises in cargo logistics, port terminal operations, maritime services and free trade zones. Formed in 2005 by the merger of Dubai Ports Authority and Dubai Ports International, DP World handles huge volume of containers that are brought in by around 70,000 vessels annually. This equates to roughly 10 per cent of global container traffic accounted for by their 82 marine and inland terminals present in over 40 countries. Until 2016, DP World was primarily a global ports operator, and since then it has acquired other companies up and down the value chain. – Gulf Today