According to new trade figures released by the Dubai Chamber, members' exports to Eastern Africa increased by 2.4 percent in the first six months of the year. According to the most recent statistics, there is an estimated untapped potential of over USD2.9 billion, which is equivalent to 78 percent of the current export level.
From January to June 2021, the Chamber said it issued a total of 9,134 Certificates of Origin (COOs) for shipments to Eastern Africa, with a total declared value of USD892 million (AED3.3 billion). The current level is more than double the value of sub-regional exports from a decade ago.
The figures were released by Dubai Chamber ahead of the Global Business Forum Africa, which has taken place from October 13-14 on the sidelines of Expo 2020 Dubai. They show the investment potential of the 20 countries that comprise the Eastern Africa region.
According to Dubai Chamber figures, the top five best-performing sub-regional markets, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, and Burundi, added a total of USD78.6 million to its members' exports in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year.
According to the statistics, Ethiopia dominated the Eastern Africa region in 2011 with a 48 percent share of the total declared value, followed by Kenya at 14 percent, Tanzania at 9 percent, Djibouti at 7 percent, and Uganda at 6 percent. A decade later, the position of these five markets had not changed, but the distribution of their shares had become more balanced. Ethiopia's total declared value is estimated to be 36% in 2021, with Kenya and Djibouti each accounting for 17%, Uganda accounting for 8%, and Tanzania accounting for 7%.
Kenya dominates the East African region in terms of both size and untapped potential, with the latter valued at USD573 million. Ethiopia is second, with a USD450 million untapped potential, and Tanzania is third, with a USD366 million gap. Other markets with significant untapped export potential include Djibouti (USD345 million), Somalia (USD279 million), Mozambique (USD148 million), Uganda (USD140 million), and Zambia (USD125 million).
There are considerable gaps for iron and steel constructions, jewellery, copper wire, and other products that have been identified (according to ITC estimates) as having a high untapped export potential for UAE exporters and re-exporters in Eastern Africa.
Eastern Africa's market prospects will be highlighted during the Global Business Forum Africa (GBF Africa), which will be held in Dubai next month under the theme "Transformation Through Trade." How African countries can work together to fulfill the promise of the African Continental Free Trade Area, models for innovative and sustainable trade and the resilience of the continent's developing industries are among the themes to be tackled.