Ghana is fast emerging as a preferred market for Dubai-based companies that are looking to expand their presence into Africa and tap into new investment opportunities. A number of factors have been fueling this trend, such as ongoing efforts by the Ghanaian government to open up various sectors of the economy to foreign investors and diversify the country’s trade relationships.
On the other hand, companies in Dubai have capitalised on trade potential that Ghana offers. Dubai’s non-oil trade with Ghana in 2020 despite the pandemic reached $2.1 billion which is the highest since 2014, registering a 77.3% growth compared to 2018.
The evolving Dubai-Ghana trade relationship will be front and centre at the Global Business Forum Africa (GBF Africa), the first major business forum taking place at Expo 2020 Dubai. The mega event is the first-ever World Expo to be hosted in the Middle East, Africa, and South Africa (MEASA) region.
Ghana is market of strategic importance to Dubai and a gateway for UAE companies to access promising markets across West Africa. Last year, the country ranked sixth on Dubai’s list of African trading partners, with non-oil trade between the two exceeding USD2.1 billion. In the first five months of this year, Ghana ranked second in the West Africa region for Dubai Chamber members exports and re-exports,
One of the major factors which has enabled Dubai to build itself into a global business hub is its outward and inclusive approach to expanding its trade relationships and attracting companies, investors and specialized talent from around the world.
In recent years, several initiatives and incentives have been rolled out to boost Dubai’s value proposition to businesses and investors and enhance the emirate’s economic competitiveness.
Competitive advantages offered include 100% foreign ownership, 10-year and 5 year “golden” residency visas, virtual working visas, world-class infrastructure, excellence logistics facilities, strategic geographic position enabling easy access to markets across the GCC, Middle East, Africa and Asia.
It was recently announced that a new “green visa” will soon be introduced to expand the self-residency status (in other words employer sponsorship is not required) to investors, entrepreneurs, highly skilled individuals, top students and graduates.
Recently, a new foreign trade strategy was announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to raise the value of the emirate’s trade to AED 2 trillion ($544 million) over the next five years.
Dubai International Chamber, one of three new chambers under Dubai Chamber, was established to strengthen partnerships with global corporations, investors and entrepreneurs and boost Dubai’s status as a major trade hub. Africa is a major pillar of this strategy as a market that is home to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
Dubai Chamber’s Accra office is supporting these efforts by identifying business opportunities in the Ghanaian market that offer the most potential for UAE companies. At the same time, the office is assisting companies in Ghana and Western Africa with their entry into the Dubai market.
Dubai, for its turn, offers a wealth of opportunities for Ghanaian investors, with many new developments on the cusp of being announced. This year marks the United Arab Emirates’ Golden Jubilee and to both honour the achievements of the last 50 years and plan for the next 50, the UAE is rolling out a programme of 50 new projects, all of which require substantial investment and promise lucrative returns through their status as government backed ventures.
These and a whole host of other topics will be under discussion at GBF Africa 2021, which takes place on October 13-14. With Dubai Chamber the Official Business Integration Partner of Expo 2020 Dubai and with the expo the world’s largest hybrid event to be hosted since the start of the pandemic, there is no greater opportunity to find out about the prevailing investment opportunities between Ghana and Dubai and the best ways of capitalising on them.
I would encourage anyone with an interest in exploring investment in Ghana and Dubai to register for the GBF Africa 2021, with the opportunities being discussed placed in the context of the twin dynamics of business in the new normal and the landmark African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, which promises a new era of commerce for Africa and its trading partners.
The writer is the President and CEO of Dubai Chamber