Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dubai to host Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) 4th Investment Forum

One of Africa's most important and influential investment forums - the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Investment Forum - will be held in Dubai on March 23-24, 2011, under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minster of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The COMESA region is considered the largest economic bloc in Africa. The COMESA Regional Investment Agency was established to drive foreign direct investment into the region. This year's forum is spearheaded by the agency in partnership with Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and is entitled 'Dubai to Africa - Unlocking
the Markets of the Future'. Over 800 regional, global and African business leaders will discuss investment, finance, logistics and trade issues involving COMESA and Dubai.

"Hosting such an important event in Dubai reflects our strategy towards new and emerging markets in Africa and our keen interest to reach out to these markets. It also showcases how Dubai's strength as an international business hub can be leveraged for the benefit of all parties concerned," Hamad Buamim, Director General of Dubai Chamber, said.

The two-day forum will involve panel discussions including 'COMESA-Dubai: The New Business Partnership' and 'Dubai - A Gateway for Trade in Africa'.

"Known as a leading international business hub, Dubai's strategic geographical location position it at the heart of the emerging markets of Asia and Africa. It is an ideal platform to encourage the flow of investments in and out of the COMESA region," Buamim said.

"The forum will tackle key issues that impact the future of investment in this important spot of the world and allow potential local and international business partners to explore and identify existing and future investment opportunities," Buamim added.

"The COMESA region today stands as a strong and attractive destination for investment with its growing and diversifying economies, particularly in light of fundamental shifts in economic power following the global financial crisis," he explained.

"There is tremendous scope for COMESA members to benefit from Dubai business community's wide and extensive experience in areas that are critical to Africa such as infrastructure development, agriculture, roadways and railways, logistics and supply chain management, aviation, and finance and banking.

"The forum will also discuss means of enabling growth and building a favorable business climate in the COMESA region and Africa through facilitating greater cooperation and encouraging regional integration. We also hope to take major strides in the development of a comprehensive set of regulatory reforms that will enable Dubai businesses to consolidate their trade ties with member countries mainly from the South and East Africa regions," Buamim added.

COMESA holds the key to the economic development of the region. It is expected to exceed the size of its market of 500 million consumers by the year 2015, and is all set to lead to higher and sustainable levels of economic growth that will provide unparalleled opportunities for investors from all over the world.

The 4th COMESA Investment Forum is specifically designed to promote dialogue and action between investors, business leaders and senior policy makers, to create the necessary framework and drive investment opportunities and growth in COMESA and Africa.

To deliver the opening remarks at the event are H.E. Sultan Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy; Sindiso Ngwenya, COMESA Secretary General; H.E. Abdulrahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, UAE; and Hon. Minister
Jabulile Mashwama, Swaziland Minister of Industry & Trade and Chairperson of COMESA Council of Ministers.

In the succeeding sessions, some of the speakers include Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin Managing Director, World Bank; H.E. Sheikha Lubna Al Qassimi, UAE Minister of Foreign Trade; Usman Ahmed, Managing Director, Corporate Banking, Barclays Africa; Sameer Al Ansari, CEO, SHUAA Capital, UAE; Lazarus A. Angbazo, President & CEO, GE East, Central & West Africa; Amadou Diallo, CEO of Africa & South Asia Pacific, DHL Global Forwarding, Africa; Giulia Di Tommaso, Director of External Affairs for Africa, Middle East and Turkey, Unilever; Ashish Thakkar, CEO, Mara Group, Uganda; Hon. Minister Welshman Ncube, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Zimbabwe; Hon. Peter Sinon, Minister of Investment, Natural Resources & Industry of Seychelles; and Nicholas Nesbitt, CEO, Kencall.


Dubai Chamber
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 favorable business environment, supporting the development of business, and by promoting Dubai as an international business hub

COMESA's member states include: Burundi, Comoros, D.R. Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is Africa's largest economic block comprising a total of nineteen countries, with a population of over 430 million, and a combined GDP of over USD 447 Billion. Having successfully launched its Custom Union in 2009, COMESA continues on the road of regional integration by supporting the continuous creation of better investment conditions, making it an increasingly internationally competitive economic community.

For further inquiries, please contact:
Ruba Abdul Halim
Public Relations and Corporate Communication Manager
Tel : +971 4 2028450

Mohamad Mouzehem
Media & Corporate Communication Executive
Tel: +971 4 2028537