UAE. UAE Minister of Foreign Trade H.E. Sheikha Lubna underlined the importance of Sovereign Wealth Funds in accelerating the growth of developing economies and lauded productive and harmonious ties between the UAE and Africa in a speech delivered Monday at the opening ceremony of the Crans Montana Forum GCC Africa conference held in Bahrain.
This year’s edition, which adopts the theme ‘Strengthening the GCC-Africa Cooperation,’ is being held in association with the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Centre. Many high-level officials attended the opening rites, including Prime Ministers and senior ministers from more than 20 African countries.
“Sovereign Wealth Funds have emerged as potent tools for assisting rapidly developing economies and emerging markets such as Africa in accelerating growth. They stabilize global financial markets, boost equity investment and provide substantial capital into domestic organizations and national projects. As a valued partner of long standing, Africa remains a primary destination for UAE funding and businesses. This Forum provides the perfect platform for the UAE and the entire Gulf to explore more closely the broad potential of this resource-rich region,” said H.E. Sheikha Lubna.
The UNCTAD World Investment Report 2007 reveals that the Gulf has been a major source of Africa’s Foreign Direct Investments, particularly into its lucrative extractive industries. The UAE in particular has been a dynamic commercial ally, with Africa emerging as one of the Emirates’ top six regional trading partners between 2003 and 2007.
The UAE’s non-oil foreign trade with Africa surpassed AED70 billion in 2007, ranking third after Asia and the Pacific and Europe. UAE investments into African markets are currently focused on the tourism, telecommunications, financial services, information technology and extractive sectors.
The Crans Montana Forum is a Swiss international organization established in Crans Montana, Switzerland in 1986. Recognized globally for its noble slogan of ‘Committed to a More Human World,’ the Forum promotes international cooperation and development; aims for worldwide stability, equity and security; fosters best governmental and organizational practices; and ensures continuous and productive global dialogue.
In June 2007, the Crans Montana Forum – Middle East was launched with the aim of representing Central and Eastern European interests as well as African and Latin American companies operating in the Middle East.