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How a Growing Gulf found Booming Africa

It's a natural match: Gulf countries like the UAE and Qatar, have capital, expertise, and well-established trade infrastructure. Sub-Saharan Africa--and particularly East Africa--has booming industries, plentiful agricultural goods, and an appetite for attracting foreign investment.

I have a piece out today in The Christian Science Monitor on how these two regions have "found" one another--and the boom that their proximity could mutually promote:

Between 2000 and 2009, trade between African countries and the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates, rose by 270 percent, to more than $18 billion annually. UAE-Africa trade grew even faster, 637 percent – to $14.5 billion annually. The numbers for East Africa are particularly striking: More than 10 percent of imports for both Kenya and Tanzania now come through the UAE, as well as an increasing number of exports. Uganda saw trade volumes rise from $118 million in 2004 to $643 million in 2008, the most recently available year for statistics. Exchange with the UAE now makes up 10 percent of that country’s total trade. ...

...“Africa is like a goldmine in terms of what’s out there,” UAE Minister of Foreign Trade Sheikha Lubna al Qasemi told a conference at New York University in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 12. Already, the UAE holds a host of investments and projects across the continent, from a $400 million investment in Nigerian telecoms to more than $200 million in foreign direct investment in Rwanda. Lubna vowed that the number would only rise further: Africa “represent[s] a considerable opportunity for trade that my ministry is excited about… There are major investments [from the UAE] that have gone toward Africa and more will come.”

You can read the full piece here.

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UAE