Officials talk up gold, previous minerals
Africa has been identified as one of the most promising business partners for Dubai, particularly in the mining sector, in the coming years. This was unveiled by Olayinka Fayomi, the chairman of Foreign Investment Network (FIN), in her address at the Foreign Investment Network FIN Women Africa-UAE Trade and Investment Forum in Dubai last week.
She said Africa is one of the most important markets for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), attributing the idea to the comments of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, adding that, “according to data recently released by UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Trade, UAE’s overall trade with six non-Arab African countries like Angola, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa and Tanzania reached $8 billion in 2020.”
At the event, the office of the past ruler of Abu Dhabi, UAE, His Royal Highness, Sheikh Hamdan bin Khalifa, pledged $2 billion investment in Nigeria’s mining sector. The donations, according to Khalifa and Global Peace Ambassador, United Nations, Zulfiquar Ghadiyali, was to further cement the existing close trade and bilateral relationship between the two countries. Fayomi disclosed that “the UAE-COMESA (Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Eswatini, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) trade volume is expected to attract an estimated 600 million consumers by 2025.” Moreover, she estimated that “the UAE’s total non-oil trade with Africa is worth $25 billion – and this figure is expected to further rise in coming years.”
Attributing Africa’s low trade share with UAE, currently standing at 18 percent and the lowest when compared with other partners, she said the experts have argued that the poor trade relationship between Africa and UAE is mainly due to poor infrastructure. Quoting the United Nations’ COMTRADE database on international trade, that European Union exports to UAE was $30.02 billion in 2020, the U.S. goods trade surplus with UAE was $15.6 billion in 2019, UAE imports from China was $39.37 billion in 2020 while its imports from Japan was $9.46 billion in 2020, she said it was “safe to conclude that Africa is in dire need of massive investment into critical infrastructure and UAE has shown that it has both the capacity and technology to transform the continent through private sector investment.”
Speaking through a virtual presence at the event, Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, canvassed for more investments in Nigeria, adding that Nigeria remains the strongest economy in Africa.
Uchechukwu Ogah, minister of state for mines. and steel development, who delivered the “Special Address” at the Dubai World Expo 2021 on “Investment in the Nigerian Gold Sector: Opportunities in the Gold Value Chain” in Abu Dhabi where he was honoured with the “Excellence in Public Service Award,” by FIN-Africa-UAE Trade and Investment Forum Dubai, assured of Nigeria’s sustainable development drive.
The Expo had participants from over 200 countries, and provided the opportunity to showcase the potential of the Nigerian minerals sector on Dubai soil with special emphasis on gold and other precious minerals abundant in Nigeria.