Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi and other officials during the meeting.
Non-oil trade exchange between the UAE and Cameroon grew by 33.5 per cent between 2012 and 2021, reaching Dhs1.92 billion by the end of last year, compared to Dhs1.43 billion in 2012.
The total non-oil trade exchange between 2012 and 2021stood at Dhs18.2 billion, according to figures of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre.
Non-oil imports from Cameroon to the UAE over the past ten years accounted for 69 per cent, equivalent to Dhs12.6 billion in value, while non-oil exports stood at 31 per cent, valued at Dhs5.6 billion, including Dhs3.8 billion in re-exports.
Non-oil trade between the two countries reached Dhs1.49 billion in the first nine months of this year, including Dhs673 million in imports, Dhs297 million in exports and Dhs599 million in re-exports.
Main import items included raw gold and wood of different types, while export items included mineral oils, paint and iron products. Cars, transport vehicles and car accessories topped the list of re-exported items to Cameroon.
Meanwhile Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, has stated that the UAE is one of the most significant investors in Africa, especially in sectors that will have great future worldwide over the next twenty years, such as infrastructure, food security, renewable energies, communications and other prospective sectors.
In an interview with the Emirates News Agency (WAM) during his visit to Cameroon, leading an Emirati delegation of business, investment and development leaders, Dr Al Zeyoudi said that the visit reiterates the depth of strategic relations between the two countries, and the UAE’s keenness to invest in some vital sectors in Cameroon that demonstrate great potential.
Cameroon produces about 1,500 megawatts of electricity from renewable energy, Dr Al Zeyoudi said, adding that “there are initial plans to increase the capacity by around 350 megawatts, which is an opportunity for our companies investing in renewable energy sector.”
Cameroon has ambitious plans in renewables, aiming to achieve an increase of 25 per cent by 2035. It has hydroelectric power generation capabilities, the third largest in Africa, which represent a great opportunity for trade and investment flows between the UAE and Cameroon, Al Zeyoudi said, adding that agriculture is another area of investment focus due to the fertile soil and greenery in Cameroon.
Al Zeyoudi also stated that some companies are already discussing investment opportunities with Cameroon, including DP World that aims to manage some ports in Cameroon including Douala Port.
Other investment opportunities that were discussed are in aviation, logistics, and SMEs sector.
The UAE is one of the most prominent global investors in Africa, with a share of 88 per cent of total GCC investment in the continent.
Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, has led an Emirati delegation of business, investment, and development leaders, including Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, to Cameroon to explore opportunities and strengthen UAE-Cameroon ties.
During the visit, Al Zeyoudi held numerous talks on Cameroon’s ambitious growth plans and current logistics and infrastructure needs, including meetings with Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, Minister of State and Secretary General at the Presidency of the Republic; Luc-Magloire Mbarga Atangana, Minister of Commerce; and Gaston Eloundou Essomba, Minister of Energy and Water.
These discussions highlighted the Cameroon government’s pledge to increase the contribution of renewables to 25 per cent of the country’s energy mix by 2035, as well as its hydropower generation potential, which ranks as the third highest on the African continent.
Al Zeyoudi highlighted the significant potential for enhanced UAE-Cameroon ties and underscored the value of such visits to the UAE’s foreign trade and investment agenda. “Cameroon is an emerging and ambitious economy, and it is evident that there is considerable scope to extend bilateral trade and enhance investment flows into priority sectors such as renewable energy, technology and logistics,” he said.
“The UAE invested US$1.2 billion in Sub-Saharan Africa between January 2016 and July 2021, and this visit has underlined the significant opportunity that exists in Cameroon. I am confident we have created an important platform for future collaboration between the public and private sectors while underlining the role the UAE plays as a launchpad for African companies seeking to expand into global markets,” he added.
Al Shorafa, in turn, stated, “The UAE can play a role as a global gateway for Cameroon and the West Africa region, helping to open greater access to expanding trade routes for both new and established markets. There is huge potential for Abu Dhabi to further deepen ties, increase trade flows, and accelerate investments between our countries.