The Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, on 5th May, 2021 held discussions with the Director General of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), Mr. Walid Farghal, on promoting and expanding investment opportunities in the SADC region, ahead of the inaugural AIM Africa Chapter to be held in June, 2021.
The meeting of the two follows a meeting between officials from the SADC Secretariat and AIM on 27 April, 2021 at which AIM updated the Secretariat on the upcoming investment events and the latest developments in mobilising and promoting investments globally in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Farghal said the AIM Africa Chapter in June, 2021 will primarily focus on attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Africa and promoting Africa’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which are two of the six pillars anchoring the work of AIM. Other pillars include; Start-ups, Foreign Portfolio Investment, Future Cities and One Belt, One Road. The AIM Africa Chapter will see prominent African stakeholders engage in dialogue with focus on key strategic directives related to Africa’s economic outlook.
H.E. Dr Tax commended AIM for harnessing the power of digital technology to host the AIM EURASIA (Russia Chapter) in January 2021 and the Abu Dhabi first digital economy meeting in April 2021 despite the challenges posed the COVID-19 pandemic.
H.E. Dr Tax assured the Director General of SADC’s commitment to partner and work with AIM to explore investment opportunities in the UAE and Southern Africa to create job opportunities and accelerate economic growth and development in the SADC region, particularly at a time when many of the SADC economies are yet to recover from the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SADC Executive Secretary extended an invitation to the Director General to make a presentation at the meeting of the SADC Investment Subcommittee which will be held on 27 May 2021 to kick-start awareness and engagement with SADC Member States on the upcoming AIM Africa, in particular, targeting Investment Promotion Agencies of the SADC Member States.
The meeting noted a number of events that have been lined up to promote investment opportunities among potential investors. In October 2021, UAE will host an investment forum in partnership with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to promote investment for sustainable development and address the development implications of e-commerce and the digital economy. During the same period, AIM will launch an investment platform, a permanent communication network that brings together important stakeholders. In the same month of October, 2021, Dubai will host the SheTrades Global, which is a premier global business event of the International Trade Centre (ITC) connecting women entrepreneurs with buyers, investors and partners.
SADC Secretariat and AIM have an existing cooperation which dates back to 2018 when Mr Farghal visited the SADC Secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana, to pay a courtesy call on H.E. Dr Tax. During their meeting, the two discussed areas of SADC-UAE collaboration and investment opportunities in the UAE and SADC region.
During the meeting, the SADC Executive Secretary was accompanied by the Director of Finance, Investment and Customs (FIC) at the SADC Secretariat, Mr Sadwick Mtonakutha, and other Secretariat staff, and the AIM Director General was accompanied by Ms. Kaosar Nazia, AIM Regional Manager (Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania and North America).