New frontier Africa offers endless opportunities for Indonesians

“These comprise exchange visits from both sides, African participation in several forums held in Indonesia, Africa’s support for Indonesia’s candidacy to the United Nations Security Council for the 2019-2020 mandate,” he pointed out.

The Group of African ambassadors in Indonesia recently celebrated Africa Day here, preceded by a panel discussion themed “Indonesia-Africa Investments and Trade Relations: Opportunities and Challenges.”

Ambassador of Algeria and Dean of the Group of African Ambassadors Abdelkader Aziria elaborated on the objective behind them holding the discussion and the continent’s achievements until then.

Since African Day was celebrated last year at the Algerian Embassy, several events were held to mark the bilateral relations between the continent and Indonesia.

“These comprise exchange visits from both sides, African participation in several forums held in Indonesia, Africa’s support for Indonesia’s candidacy to the United Nations Security Council for the 2019-2020 mandate,” he pointed out.

Exchanges and interactions between Africa and Indonesia have proven potential and extensive opportunities exist to deepen their cooperation and partnership.

This was highlighted by most speakers at the panel of discussions including eminent academicians, diplomats, media, and other stakeholders. Participants encouraged Indonesian investors to invest in Africa and called on African investors to invest in Indonesia, the ambassador remarked.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the condition of several African countries and Indonesia was similar when it intensified development programs. To many, Africa is the new frontier nowadays and is viewed as offering boundless opportunities for wealth creation in the march of globalization.

Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita has recently appealed to Indonesian exporters to tap African markets holding huge potential for Indonesian products.

“African countries hold vast potential,” Lukita stated.  

The ministry is exploring trade agreements with African nations, including Mozambique and Tunisia. Indonesia holds potential to export steel and motorcycles that are in high demand in Africa.

Arlinda, director general of national export development of the Trade Ministry, revealed that Indonesia is presently in the process of negotiating trade agreements with various African countries.

This year, trade agreements with Mozambique, Tunisia, and Morocco are expected to be inked.

Tunisia and Morocco can become strategic partners, as they have access to European markets. Indonesia can export tuna to Tunisia and Morocco, Arlinda stated.

Geographically, Tunisia is located in proximity to Italy and France, while Morocco is not far from Spain and Portugal.

Some African countries have offered several opportunities to would-be investors as gateways to doing business in Sub-Saharan Africa. Geographically, the area of the continent of Africa lies south of the Sahara.

Nigeria, Mozambique, and South Africa are viewed as examples to take a cue from how they developed. South Africa is one of the most sophisticated and promising emerging markets, providing a unique combination of highly developed first-world economic infrastructure, with a vibrant, emerging market economy.

Mozambique has competitive advantages comprising its strategic location in the southern region of Africa; sharing borders with countries, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, and Swaziland; and offering infrastructure — ports, pipeline, and roads — that give access to SADC countries.

Specifically, Nigeria, with a population of some 170 million, gross domestic product of US$510 billion in 2013, and growth rate averaging 6.4 percent during 2010-2013, is the most populated and largest economy in Africa.

Opportunities exist for Indonesian firms to invest in Nigeria. Its people are fond of eating and in need of housing, electricity supplies, education, and healthcare facilities.

During a separate meeting, Ambassador of the Republic of Sudan to Indonesia and Singapore Dr Elsiddieg Abdulaziz Abdalla remarked that Indonesia — a diverse archipelagic nation of over 300 ethnic groups — has the largest economy in Southeast Asia and is one of the emerging market economies of the world.

“You have talented people here and produce many types of products, such furniture and clothing, as you see in this room,” he stated while addressing several youth participating in the session to discuss the current situation in Sudan that was followed by ifthar.

He called on the youth to become businesspersons and sell “made in Indonesia” products and invest abroad.

The Group celebrates Africa Day annually. It celebrated the 56th anniversary of the creation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by the African founding fathers and which succeeded in July 2002 in Durban, South Africa, the African Union, on the occasion of the 38th OAU Summit.

The reference to several decisions, declarations, resolutions, and others was adopted since the birth of the OAU, demonstrating that Africa has made notable achievements at the continental and international levels during the past 56 years.

These encompass progress in the area of liberation of African nations and people from colonial domination and racial discrimination, the peaceful resolution of conflicts, and the promotion of integration, unity, and African solidarity.

Ambassador Aziria cited recent examples of its achievements, including the African Union’s launch of a single market for air transport in Africa in 2018, inking of the African continental free trade agreement, and the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons in Africa and the African passport.

He also pointed out that 2018 was declared an anti-corruption year, while 2019 is the year of the launch of the theme “Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons for Sustainable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.”

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