Business News of 2014-08-28

Ghana joins Singapore-Africa trade talks

A number of Ghanaian businesses and institutions have joined their African counterparts for the third Africa Singapore Business Forum (ASBF), which opened on Wednesday in Singapore to continue efforts aimed at growing bilateral trade and investments between Singapore and Africa.

The three-day forum, which will discuss areas for potential business partnerships, such as consumer, oil and gas, agribusiness, and transport & logistics among others is taking place at a difficult time for Africa as it tackles the Ebola outbreak.

According to Sean Moon Ming, the Chairman of IE Singapore- the Singapore’s government’s agency tasked to promote Singapore’s external economy through trade and overseas investments- the prospects for increased economic ties between Singapore and Africa has largely been unexploited as trade volume between two entities constitutes just about 1% of Singapore’s total trade.

Data from IE Singapore show that investments by Singapore firms into Africa have reached S$20 billion with about 60 Singapore companies currently operating in over 50 countries in Africa. Ten Africa companies have also established presence in Singapore.

“Since 2009, total trade between Singapore and Africa has grown at a compound annual growth rate of almost 12%, reaching S$14.1 billion today. This makes up just over 1% of Singapore’s total trade. It highlights the promising upside for trade volumes to grow,” Mr. Ming said.

Among the highlights of the bi-annual forum this year are the signing of a Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) for Singapore with Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast to facilitate investment flows, and an Air Services Agreement (ASA) between Singapore and Zimbabwe to allow carriers of both sides the flexibility to plan their commercial operations and capitalise on market opportunities, paving the way for greater connectivity between both countries.

Others include a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between International Enterprise (IE)?Singapore and Deloitte & Touche to support trade and investments between?Singapore and East Africa and MOUs by Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) Nanyang Business School with the Strathmore Business School of Strathmore University (Kenya) and?Lagos Business School of Pan-Atlantic University (Nigeria) as well as the launch of the NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies (CAS) by Nanyang Technological University and the Singapore Business Federation.

So far, many businesses under the umbrella of the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) have urged their African counterparts to look beyond India, China and Europe for trading and projects partners as they are ready to strengthen their business dealings with African economies.

Source: BFT
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