60 African countries to participate in AIM 2013
"A great opportunity and platform for strategic networking."
Dubai - United Arab Emirates
African countries see Dubai as an inspiring city for them in their policies, strategies and sustainable development plans. 60 African countries will participate in the 3rd Edition of Annual Investment Meeting (AIM 2013). The AIM runs between April 30 & May 2 and is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. It is set to attract more investments to the UAE, region and enhance investment flows internationally and specially towards Africa that need FDI flows to achieve sustainable development in sectors like infrastructure, energy, agriculture, mining, tourism and many others given the attractive Return on Investment levels in Africa compared to other continents.
Victoire Ndikumana Minister of Trade, Industry, Posts and Tourism in Burundi described the AIM as a global event focused on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). AIM 2013 will be of great importance for Burundi because it provides representatives from the private and public sector an exclusive environment to establish MOUs and exchange views on the importance of multilateral trade agreements, economic governance and strategic cooperation with economic operators in the world in general and the UAE in particular.
Ndikumana said the Burundi looks forward to exchanging with the authorities of the United Arab Emirates and other countries represented at the AIM to learn about their regulation of FDI, the strengths and opportunities of investment offered by their country and then see how to improve trade with them.
We will present foreign investors with the progress made by our country in the promotion of trade and investment and we invite them to visit Burundi in order to assess for themselves the business environment in Burundi, says the Minister. Burundi delegation will present a number of projects for partners and investors. We hope that Burundian businessmen who are participating in this conference will conclude partnership with foreign investors present here, she noted.
The Minister of Trade, Industry, Posts and Tourism in Burundi said trade and investment between Burundi and the United Arab Emirates are doing well. Burundi has many investment opportunities which may be the subject of cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and Burundi. These opportunities include agriculture, livestock and fisheries, fruit, flowers, cereals, oilseeds (oil palm), enhancement of coffee and tea production. She also highlighted the possibilities of hydroelectricity, renewable energy and industrial fishing on Lake Tanganyika, extraction and processing mining: nickel, gold, coltan. Beach tourism and water sports on Lake Tanganyika, development of housing, public buildings, hotel and lodges, marine transportation on Lake Tanganyika and development of infrastructures such as roads, railways, airports, marina and sports are among the major opportunities available in Burundi, according to Ndikumana.
About supporting UAE’s bid to host Expo 2020 in Dubai, the minister noted that a team of experts is analyzing all the bids, and we are waiting for their reports. The government will then take a decision in due time.
Speaking about historical background, she said that Burundi has experienced many years of war and after many years of crisis, Burundians negotiated and signed a peace agreement in August 2000. Currently, peace and stability have been restored and Burundians are rebuilding their country. The authorities of the country are striving for social reconstruction and economic development.
The main challenges the Government of Burundi now faces is the fight against poverty and unemployment, the energy deficit, transport infrastructures low cost like railway, limited access to finance for small and medium enterprises. However, all these challenges are opportunities for investment.
The Government of Burundi has made many reforms to improve the business climate. That is why the country has been ranked as one of the top ten reformers in the 2012 and 2013 Doing Business reports of the World Bank. We welcome all potential investors. We promise that they will enjoy to invest in our country, the minister noted.
The Minister noted that the trade and investment between Burundi and UAE has developed over the past years and many businessmen and women from Burundi regularly visit the United Arab Emirates and specifically Dubai to make purchases of goods and services. In recent years, import from United Arab Emirates have improved strongly from $ 13.7 million in 2008 to $ 32.6 million in 2011, before falling to $ 27.6 in 2012. Burundi's imports from United Arab Emirates consist primarily of vehicles, rice, flour, fiber fabrics, clothing, carpets, tubes, pipes, wooden furniture, powdered milk, oil, juice, panels, paper and cardboard. Exports to United Arab Emirates are made of gold in the state raw, hides and skins. The UAE’s share in Burundi’s exports has strongly increased from virtually nothing in 2003 to 13% of total exports in 2010. This increase largely reflects gold exports, Ndikumana concluded.
Gorden Moyo, Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals in Zimbabwe said AIM is an important event in the investment arena as it brings investors from all over the world and government representatives to interact and discuss investment opportunities with the aim of achieving a win-win situation. It also provides opportunities for governments to exhibit information, market their investment opportunities and at the same time learn from current international best practices in investment promotion strategies. The event provides a networking platform and it brings together participants with broader knowledge and appreciation of the importance of FDI in economic development which is important for fruitful dialogue. Dubai is viewed as one of the wonders of the world in terms of investment focus, friendly investment environment and business climates. It provides a location for focused collaboration and sharing of information on the realities and challenges of future beneficiaries.
The Minister will be presenting investment opportunities in SEPs in Zimbabwe in the Agricultural, Energy & Financial Sectors. During AIM, the delegation of Zimbabwe will provide an opportunity to strengthen the trade and investment ties with UAE and the GCC Countries. The Minister’s aim is also to market the investment opportunities in the public enterprises reforms being undertaken in Zimbabwe as the country is looking for strategic investors for two banks namely POSB and Agribank. The country is also looking for investors for the Hydro Power Generating project at Hwange Power station at a cost of US$2.1 billion and the Gairezi Mini Hydro station at a cost of US$90 million.
The Minister will explore possible Lines of Credit for our State Enterprises and Parastatals in Zimbabwe as they are rehabilitating their infrastructures and building new projects. Signing of any Memorandum of Understanding with potential Strategic and Joint Venture Partners is a major priority in this important event. He noted that the emphasis at AIM should be at matchmaking major projects with possible financers or investors. The challenges faced by most countries are to market their abundant investment opportunities especially in developing countries. As the opportunities unfold it is important that information is disseminated to possible investors at the right time. A follow-up report should be produced to appraise the participants of the deals and business contracts established during AIM, says Gorden Moyo.
Kebba S. Touray, Minister of Trade, Regional Integration & Employment in Gambia emphasizes that AIM presents a great opportunity and platform for strategic networking, establishing partnerships, promotion and learning best practices on international policies and strategies for FDI attraction and boost in trade for sustainable growth.
Minister Touray said Dubai is one of the greatest hubs in terms of investment, trade and finance in the world. It is a city that inspires hope and confidence and a demonstration that with the right policies, strategies and dedication, we can all achieve sustainable growth and development for our people.
The Gambia delegation will be promoting both public and private sector projects. Projects from the Government of the Gambia and Public Enterprises: Railway, Business Park Development and Management, Airport City ,tourism and real estate development according to the Minister along with projects from the private sector including Agro processing, Fisheries and ICT.
About their agenda in Dubai, the Minister of Trade, Regional Integration & Employment in Gambia noted thy will discuss strategic networking both at the bilateral, regional and multilateral level to promote our national development aspirations. Also they will exchange of visions , strategies and experiences with leaders from governments, private sector and multilateral institutions to enhance our policies and strategies to boost trade and investment in Gambia and our region. Other objectives during the AIM will be promoting Gambia as one of the best locations for investment in Africa and to promote projects from the government and private sector to individual and institutional investors and financiers along with establishing/strengthening strategic alliances and partnerships.
AIM provides an excellent forum and platform to generate new ideas, enhance international policies and strategies, broker deals and establish strategic partnerships to reignite growth in the global economy through greater investment and trade with emerging and developing countries, says the Gambian Minister.