Getting To Know The Chamber
The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a non-profit organisation which has supported the business community in Dubai for more than five decades. The organisation has watched the city grow from a trade and logistics gateway between Africa and the United Arab Emirates, to a financial investment hub that offers attractive returns on investment for businesses who want to tap into the UAE market. Their message about investing in Dubai is clear:
“Whether it’s a start-up or established multi-national, Dubai provides a wealth of opportunities for businesses looking to make an impact in the wider Middle East, South Asian and African markets. Dubai is known for its rich business events calendar and networking opportunities alongside its mature and business enabling regulatory and legislative policies.”
Expanding Its Footprint In Africa
Director of Marketing and Corporate Communication at Dubai Chamber, Rami Halawani said, “We were tasked with looking at Africa in a structured and systematic way, part of that meant developing a strategy that would dispel perceptions about doing business in Africa. We used data obtained from our own research and other institutions to compile a tool that gives an in-depth look at what is going on in Africa’s biggest economies.”
The chamber has used this information to open regional offices in Kenya, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Ghana, with plans underway to open offices in Rwanda, Uganda and other countries. The research and physical presence has helped Dubai businesses to invest in key sectors in Africa such as construction, ports management and financial solutions. The offices also serve as a base for African private and public companies who want to access the Dubai market.
Linking Dubai Businesses And Their African Counterparts
The chamber has also developed the Africa Gateway Smart Application, a free app and website that facilitates access to African investment opportunities. The platform provides potential investors with everything needed to set up a business in Africa. The African Gateway Dubai Chamber helps businesses who want to “understand market dynamics, bid for tenders or connect with businesses in Africa.” The portal houses case studies, news articles as well as facts and figures needed to make an informed decision about the business opportunities available in Africa.
Tapping Into The Continent’s Biggest Resource
Several reports have cited how Africa has the advantage of a young population in the future. Young people are responsible for many social, political and tech changes that the continent has witnessed so far. The Dubai Chamber understands the limitations and challenges that young people face back home.
The Chamber currently nurtures upcoming businesses in Dubai through the Start Up Hub, an accelerator programme where the chamber aims to connect new businesses with access, knowledge and partnerships with companies in the city. The initiative is now open to African startups who are redefining business through impressive solutions. Earlier this year, the chamber hosted an event dubbed a chamberthon, which saw five African Startups and their Dubai counterparts vie for a spot in a mentorship programme.
The African startups included FarmGate Africa, a startup using advanced technologies to connect international buyers and farming clusters, Quip.link, an online marketplace for renting and selling construction equipment, Complete Farmer, a crowd-farming platform focused on building sustainable farms, Engineering Hub Ltd, a provider of IT services and solutions for mobile and banking integration platforms and lastly, RideSafe, a mobile application offering real-time health solutions. At the end of the mentorship, the startups will have an audience with business and government leaders attending Global Business Forum Africa to pitch for backers.
A Chance To Build Meaningful Networks
Under the banner “Scale Up Africa”, the chamber will host its fifth Global Business Forum in November 2019 where the conversation will centre around restoring business confidence in Africa. GBF Africa 2019 is touted as the pivotal destination for business, finance and government leaders to identify business opportunities and develop the fast‐growing ties between Africa and Dubai.
The event aims to forge connections that will enable and accelerate growth and explore how the two regions can work together to build powerful and creative partnerships among aspiring young entrepreneurs, established businesses and governments. The programme relies on four pillars: An accelerator eco-system, scaling up through collaboration, leveraging Africa’s market power through digital trade and Africa and Dubai working together to rewire trade for the digital era.