Dubai International Chamber boosts overseas presence with new office in Nigeria

Chamber's 28th international office opens in Lagos to give Dubai-based businesses the opportunity to tap into Central and Western African markets

Mohammad Lootah, president and chief executive of Dubai Chambers, fourth from right, and Lagos Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, fourth from left, open the Dubai International Chamber's representative office in Lagos. Photo: Dubai Chambers
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The Dubai International Chamber has opened its seventh representative office in Africa, bolstering its overseas presence as it seeks to strengthen economic and bilateral ties with the continent.

The office in the Nigerian city of Lagos, the chamber's 28th international office, gives Dubai-based businesses the opportunity to tap into the potential of the Central and Western African markets, the chamber said in a statement on Friday.

The move would provide the opportunity for both sides to expand on their growing non-oil trade exchange, which rose by nearly 40 per cent to Dh7.8 billion ($2.12 billion) in 2022, it said.

"Establishing a presence in Lagos represents another significant milestone. The Nigerian market is one of the largest in Africa and enables Dubai-based traders to access a wide range of markets," Mohammad Lootah, president and chief executive of Dubai Chambers, said in the statement.

A total of 551 Nigerian companies are currently registered as active members of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, 75 of which joined between the first and third quarters of 2023, according to chamber data.

Nigeria is also expected to benefit from the UAE's expertise in key growing industries, including financial technology, renewable energy and smart city solutions, the statement said.

"Our Lagos office will establish new channels of communication and economic co-operation between Dubai and Nigeria, and we look forward to working together to boost bilateral trade and investment," Mr Lootah said.

The opening puts the chamber well on pace to achieve its goal of establishing 50 commercial representative offices worldwide by 2030, part of the objectives of the Dubai Global economic initiative launched in June 2022.

The Dubai International Chamber, which is among the three entities under the restructured Dubai Chambers, achieved a milestone in June when it opened its representative office in London, which was its first in Europe and 20th globally at the time.

Since then, it has continued its aggressive expansion into more countries, setting up hubs in Johannesburg, Ho Chi Minh City, Milan, Paris, Amsterdam and, last week, Frankfurt and Tokyo.

It also supports the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33), a major programme launched by the government that aims to double the size of the emirate's economy to Dh32 trillion by 2033.

“We remain dedicated to implementing our strategic priorities and supporting the success of the private sector to bring the ambitions of D33 to life," Mr Lootah said.

Organisations from the UAE and the Middle East have long tapped into Africa's potential, which is home to the world’s youngest and fastest-growing population, burgeoning cities and "bold innovations in everything from FinTech to clean energy", according to McKinsey & Company.

Its population is expected to nearly double to 2.5 billion by 2050, presenting several opportunities for strong and inclusive growth, it said.

Nigeria is part of the sub-Saharan region, where growth is expected to rebound to 4 per cent, from 3.3 per cent in 2023, the International Monetary Fund said last month.

Many countries in the region have worked to address macroeconomic imbalances, resulting in fiscal deficits, for example, narrowing down, helping stabilise public debt, the IMF said.

Investments from Dubai entities into Nigeria hit about Dh862.2 million between January 2018 and July 2023, the chamber said, quoting data from FDI Intelligence.

Sectors that have received investments include food and beverage, real estate, financial services, software, IT services, business services, fertilisers, building materials, and transportation and storage.

Key Nigerian exports to the UAE include gold, while Nigeria imports equipment, cars and jewellery from the UAE.

The partnership between the two countries "can serve as a catalyst for growth, innovation and prosperity", the statement said, quoting Lagos Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu.

This emphasises that "the UAE's expertise in the field of logistics and entry into global markets aligns with Lagos' potential as a manufacturing and technology hub and can help take joint relations to new heights".

The chamber's Lagos office will seek to strengthen relationships with key public and private sector stakeholders and deliver a comprehensive range of support to the Nigerian business community, the statement said.

This will include assisting Nigerian companies in entering the Dubai market and expanding through the emirate and beyond, it added.

Updated: November 25, 2023, 4:09 AM