SMETalks concluded a successful webinar on Agriculture Trade Links between the UAE and Africa held on 24th November 2020 on YouTube channel - Live. The webinar addressed efforts to build greater trade links and open trade opportunities between small and medium-sized enterprises in the Middle East and Africa.
SMETalks partnered with the African Management Institute (AMI) to deliver a special series of networking events between SMEs, where the ‘Agri Trade Links’ webinar was the first of its kind in the series.
The webinar featured a thought-provoking line up of experts from both the UAE and Africa as well as a very special guest. The speakers in attendance were; Guest of Honour: Hon. Vincent Ssempijja, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries in the Ugandan Cabinet; Prof. Ahmed Eltigani, CEO, Al Rawabi Dairy Company; Mr. Akintunde Sawyer, CEO, Agricultural Fresh Produce Growers & Exporters Association of Nigeria (AFGEAN); Mr. Mohsen Ahmad, CEO of Logistics District, Dubai South; Mr. Christopher Kulei, Executive Director, Sian Roses and the host of the webinar Mr. Walid Hareb AlFalahi, CEO, Dubai Consultancy.
The minister shared his views on the agricultural sector in Uganda, the challenges, investment opportunities and the future plans for this sector. "Uganda has exported to the UAE what is worth in USD 562.4 million during 2018. Other areas that we needed to emphasise in our UAE Africa trade links webinar is we have already developed over 25000 acres of palm trees and we are involving 80000 households that have benefitted in this industry.
The outcome of this convention and the subsequent discussions will spark world coordinated agriculture sector interventions and investments by both public and private sectors from both Uganda and UAE targeting increased production and maximizing the link between both nations."
Ms. Rebecca, Harrison, Co-Founder and CEO of African Management Institute who welcomed the panel and attendees shared her remarks. She concludes "I am an entrepreneur as well and sometimes there are these big infrastructural challenges to overcome as an SME and we need industry bodies to advocate for us.”
Prof. Ahmed Eltigani said "Right now, I am designing a big project in the northern part of Sudan for growers and farmers. What I am doing is upgrading their production, I have made an agreement with banks to finance this project it will improve the standard of living for these farmers."
Mr. Akintunde Sawyer shared his views on contract farming. “Contract farming offers a huge opportunity in a place like Nigeria, we have the land, the connectivity, and the labour force now, what we don’t have as you have rightly identified are enough of the large organizations that can come in and produce at the scale that the market is demanding. "
Mr. Mohsen Ahmad said “the soft infrastructure of regulation helps the easing of trade; it could be a key important factor to enhance that trade. UAE today is the fourth largest investor in the African continent after China, the European Union and the US. This just states how our leaders feel that Africa is very important to our growth, and it shows that close collaboration needs to be done."
“For every middleman or every stage, you add to the product you reduce the benefit to the producer. So, as the world gets smaller and as we get more digital and more connectivity, we as a (flower) business really are looking to connect directly with consumers.” quoted Mr. Christopher Kulei.
SMETalks would like to thank the honourable minister for adding immense value to this webinar. We would also like to extend a warm thank you to our esteem panellists for sharing valuable insights on how to build trade opportunities between SMEs in the Middle East and Africa. A big thank you to our partners - AMI, UAE Trade Center and Misbar for supporting us in this initiative and our delegates from across the globe whose attendance made this webinar vibrant and successful.
SMEtalks is an initiative under Dubai Consultancy, a company based in Dubai U.A.E which provides a B2B connectivity and market access for the UAE SMEs across the globe.