Singapore pushes for deeper engagement with Africa
SINGAPORE, (Xinhua) — International Enterprise (IE) Singapore on Wednesday announced the establishment of its third Overseas Center in Africa during the Africa-Singapore Business Forum 2016 as the city state is pushing for deeper engagement with Africa.
The new center, due to open in Nairobi in 2017, will give Singapore companies access to the fast-growing East Africa region, expanding IE Singapore’s comprehensive in-market network to assist Singapore companies across the continent.
Lee Ark Boon, chief executive officer of IE Singapore, noted that Africa’s long-term growth prospects are strong, and Singapore companies looking to diversify from traditional markets should consider options in Africa.
“Our new office in Nairobi will assist Singapore companies to identify and capture business opportunities, cultivate valued local partners and strengthen the Singapore brand in the fast-growing East African region,” said Lee.
The business forum also witnessed the landmark signing of Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) with Ethiopia, a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with Mozambique and an Air Services Agreement (ASA) with Nigeria on Wednesday.
These bilateral agreements are expected to clarify the taxing rights of the signatory countries on all forms of income flows arising from cross-border business activities, create greater confidence for investors, and facilitate people-to-people flows.
Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran, who signed these agreements, said Singapore companies must venture beyond these markets to seize opportunities in untapped markets in regions such as Africa.
“Ethiopia, Mozambique and Nigeria are three fast-growing African economies and the agreements signed today signify commitment on the part of Singapore and the respective African governments to support trade, tourism and investment between our countries,” said S Iswaran,
“we are keen to build a long-term relationship with African countries and will continue to strengthen our economic ties with the African region.”
Since 2005, total trade between Singapore and Africa has grown at a compounded annual rate of 5.2 percent, reaching 11.5 billion Singapore dollars (8.5 billion U.S. dollars) in 2015, said IE Singapore.
Besides the business forum aimed at enhancing economic cooperation, Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan also hosted Sub-Saharan Africa High-Level Ministerial Exchange Visit from Monday to Wednesday for 10 ministers from Botswana, Cabo Verde, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, according a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday.
Themed “Singapore and Africa: Partnering for Sustainable Development”, the 10 ministers called on Singaporean leaders during the visit, exchanging views on the challenges of sustainable development and share experiences in dealing with urban solutions, water management and skills development.