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UAE professional services sector to support African businesses once AfCFTA takes effect

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The Nairobi skyline. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Being the fourth largest investor in Africa with $25 billion invested across the continent from 2014 to 2018, UAE is poised to further open trade gateways for African companies and tap businesses that could contribute to mutual growth.

As the UAE continues to strengthen its trade relations with Africa following the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the country has become even more attractive to a growing number of investors and private companies seeking to take advantage of the country’s investor-friendly policies. Being the fourth largest investor in Africa with $25 billion invested across the continent from 2014 to 2018, the country is poised to further open trade gateways for African companies and tap businesses that could contribute to mutual growth.

The country continues to enjoy the support of global investors as foreign direct investments (FDI) from leading economies such as the US, Europe, and China flow into the UAE despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. The emirate of Dubai alone reported $3.2 billion (AED 12 billion) worth of investments from 190 projects during the first half of 2020.

UAE’s economic strengths can be attributed to various factors including investor-friendly regulations and flourishing business community matched with advanced professional services. The country has successfully established a robust free zones community as well as options for offshore incorporation, yet, it continues to widen opportunities for foreign investors. In 2018, the government approved its FDI Law which opened up the UAE’s mainland market to foreign investors for key sectors. In 2019, it further relaxed the foreign ownership of 122 business activities particularly in industrial and manufacturing sector, services, and agriculture.

Sunil Jagetiya, Chairman of Sun Management Consultants (REANDA UAE), one of the fastest growing professional services firms in the country, says: “The UAE is well-positioned to facilitate the increase of business interest from the African region, especially Dubai which has been considered as a preferred re-export hub by traders from the continent. African investors keen to expand their operations in the Middle East and beyond will find a host of advanced business advisory firms in the country that would support a faster and smoother entry into the market as the business environment has been made very conducive for private investors to flourish.”

“The UAE is an investment haven for companies with the ease of doing business a priority for the government. Once the free trade agreement comes into place in 2021, the country, especially the emirate of Dubai, expects a jump in trade exchange, and we see this spilling over to an increased demand for professional support from the African continent as investors are already gearing up to tap opportunities in trade and investments,” adds Jagetiya.

From its headquarters in Dubai, Sun Management Group has served over 1,700 clientele from 60 countries since its inception in 2005. These companies have been benefiting from the company’s full spectrum of business services, starting from business setup and company formation to a wide range of professional expertise including finding banking partners and a diverse range of corporate and business advisory services. It also provides visa and immigration processing, audit and assurance, tax advisory and compliance, accounting advisory and cloud accounting, among others.

He notes that Sun Management’s one-stop solutions to a range of business needs has helped many companies easily meet their requirements, whether they are setting up in the mainland, an offshore company, or in free zone areas such as Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Airport Free Zone, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Internet City, Media City, Sharjah Airport International Free Zone, Hamriyah Free Zone, Ras Al Khaimah International Corporate Centre and Ajman Free Zone.

“African investors seeking to establish presence in the UAE will find a range of industries that are highly supported by the government such as logistics, manufacturing, energy, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, agribusiness, and technology. Small and medium enterprises have also huge potentials to grow in UAE given the strong support of the country to the sector, which is considered an essential pillar of the economy. However, it is important that companies have strong partners who deeply understand the processes in the country, including regulatory changes and the business’ alignment to the country’s national vision,” concludes Jagetiya.

Sun Management Group is a member firm of REANDA International, the 21st largest network of independent accounting and consulting firms in the world with presence in 42 countries and over 250 partners. As REANDA UAE, it regularly engages its partners and clients in meetings and conferences to help  facilitate entry and better understand the UAE’s business environment and enhance their operations through a wide range of services.

For more information about Sun Management Consultants Group, visit their website: https://sundubai.net/