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Gulf countries ramp up African investments


For Gulf nations that are looking to diversify their domestic economies away from natural resources, exhibitions like Buildexpo Africa provide unique insights into the many asset classes and large-scale public and private sector investments emerging from the continent. For African nations, the event is a chance to explore international technology and investment across the region as well as learn from some of the best practices that have enabled GCC countries to grow and diversify over recent years.

Investors and other stakeholders from the Gulf, however, recognize that China has already taken the lead when it comes to investing in Africa. Ernst & Young's Africa Attractiveness report shows that China is now the single largest contributor of FDI, capital and jobs in Africa. The report indicates that around 130,000 jobs have been created directly by Chinese investment since 2005, from 293 FDI projects worth in excess of $66.4 billion. Importantly, China's investments are well diversified, spanning natural resources, services, manufacturing and infrastructure development.

To date, infrastructure has been and continues to be one of the most attractive segments. Right across Africa, roads, airports, dams, ports, railways and telecommunications networks have been coming to life and adding significant logistical capabilities to African economies. The Addis Ababa railway that links the city to the port of Djibouti, which was launched in 2016, received foreign investment worth $4 billion.

Investors and sovereign funds face an ever-growing number of opportunities in these key developmental sectors in Africa, whilst many have already invested heavily. According to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, total non-oil trade between the two regions is valued at about $24 billion, a 700 percent increase over the last decade. The Investment Corporation of Dubai has placed $300 million in Dangote Cement of Nigeria, one of Africa's fastest expanding companies; and Etihad Airways has acquired a 40 percent stake in Air Seychelles.

Business-critical infrastructure also presents opportunities for foreign investors across other fast-growing sectors including hospitality, tourism and agriculture. These sectors are already attracting FDI from investment firms which is indicative of the growing vitality and attractiveness of key locations across the continent, which in the long-term will generate significant returns for investors. The sector has already attracted significant interest from GCC countries

Source : Biz Mart