Dubai (New Ziana) – The fifth edition of the Global Business Forum on Africa, attended by several African leaders including President Emmerson Mnangagwa, opened in Dubai on Monday.
The forum aims to strengthen economic cooperation between African countries and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
President Mnangagwa was expected to lead a discussion on ‘Re-vitalising Zimbabwe’, unpacking the country’s challenges, potential and opportunities as well as the role that entrepreneurs and investors can play to help resolve urgent issues from water, fuel and power shortages to food security, healthcare and job creation.
Officially opening the high level meeting, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, who is also the Dubai Expo 2020 director general Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy said the conference offered an opportunity to strengthen existing ties between Africa and her country.
“We offer an opportunity to take our relationship to new heights. It may not be recognisable immediately but everything from the food we eat to the clothes we wear, everything is influenced by Africa,” she said.
Majid Saif Al Ghurair, chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry commended African countries for showing keen interest in trading with UAE, as shown by their representation at the conference.
“Your presence at this forum presents an opportunity to strengthen existing ties with Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. Africa is a market of strategic importance to Dubai and Dubai Chamber of Commerce.
“We believe that Dubai holds the key to unlock Africa’s economic potential,” he said.
Since its inception in 2013, GBF Africa had served as a catalyst for UAE-Africa economic cooperation and business exchange.
President Mnangagwa was invited to the meeting by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and arrived in the Middle East country on Sunday.
Zimbabwe and the UAE have in recent years forged strong ties, and the Middle East country was one of the main aid donors to victims of Cyclone Idai which devastated areas in the east of the country early in the year.
At the time the Cyclone hit Zimbabwe, President Mnangagwa was in the UAE seeking to establish economic relations between the two countries as part of his engagement and re-engagement policy to break Zimbabwe’s international isolation.