Dubai Exports, the export promotion agency of the Department of Economic Development – Government of Dubai, has produced a report on the food and beverage sector in the South African Development Community (SADC), to assist UAE manufacturers and exporters in the sector to access new and emerging markets in Southern Africa and to boost trade from Southern Africa to the region through Dubai.

Along with highlighting current trends and prospects in the food trade in SADC countries, the report also outlines opportunities for the Southern African bloc to export to the wider GCC region through Dubai by capitalising on the excellent infrastructure in the Emirate.

The report is produced as a part of Dubai Exports activities centered on capitalising the huge export potential that the African continent offers firms in the UAE. Earlier this year Dubai Exports announced its Trade Missions to East and Africa. In the case of Southern Africa Dubai exports plans to participate in the premier food and beverage exhibition namely Africa Big 7 in July taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 15th to 17th July.

“The South African Development Community represents a strategic growth market within Africa. Together the 15 member states in SADC have a population of over 257 million and they import foods worth nearly USD 11 billion,” said Engineer Saed Al Awadi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Exports.

Besides South Africa, SADC has Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe as members. Among them, South Africa and Angola, the top two food importers, together imported USD 6 billion worth of foods in 2010.

“Exporters in Dubai are best placed to successfully target the developing economies in SADC with fast and reliable supply of processed foods. Dubai is already well-connected to the Republic of South Africa, which offers a gateway to the rest of SADC, with its efficient transport infrastructure,” added Al Awadi.

Total exports and re-exports from Dubai to South Africa in 2011 were valued at AED1.5 billion (US$408 million approximately), with food exports and re-exports  from Dubai contributing AED 105 million, while AED 50 million came from free zone companies in Dubai.

Chocolates, fruit juices, pasta, wheat flour, rice and edible oils account for the majority of food exports and re-exports to South Africa from Dubai. The Dubai Exports research shows that SADC as a whole offers additional export opportunities in a variety of foods including meat, sugar, confectionary and beverages, as their imports have grown at a rate higher than the global average.

Al Awadi commented that Dubai, with its proximity to Africa and competitive business environment, is well placed as a trade hub for SADC to the regional market. The SADC states have seen exports of their chief commodities like fruits and nuts as well as fats and oils growing at an annual average of 25-30% and exceeding USD 2 billion, while GCC imports of the same stuff reached USD 4 billion in 2010, growing 40% annually.

“Dubai is expanding its logistics, transport and manufacturing facilities to facilitate movement of goods and flow of trade. The Dubai World Central, for instance, will add a futuristic multi-modal transport component to the region’s supply chain network. Given such developments the economic momentum in our respective regions, Dubai and SADC has excellent opportunities to build high-value, sustainable trade partnerships,” said Al Awadi.


Rushika Bhatia Editor

Rushika Bhatia is one of the region’s leading commentators on business and current affairs issues. She is the Editor of SME Advisor magazine - the flagship title of CPI Business. She is passionate about infographics – with special emphasis on data, research and statistics. Rushika has a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University, USA and is also CIMA qualified.

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