Creating new perspectives since 2009

GCC states invest over $100bn in Africa, UAE takes the lead

August 9, 2023 at 9:18 am

Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Jasem Mohamed Al Budaiwi on July 31, 2023 [Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

The five most prominent Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have invested over $100 billion in Africa over the years, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) leading the way, according to a new publication.

In a report by the London-based property consultancy company Knight Frank LLP, titled ‘Africa Horizons: The Continent’s unique guide to real estate investment trends and Opportunities (2023/2024)’, the staggering extent of the top five GCC states’ foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the African continent are revealed to amount to at least $101 billion.

The report ranked particular sectors by the number of investments pumped into them by the five GCC states, with financial services at 149, transportation and warehousing at 84, environmental technology at 64, ICT and electronics at 49 and construction at rank 47.

In those sectors, the UAE was by far the largest contributor, investing $59.4 billion, followed by Saudi Arabia at $25.6 billion, Qatar at $7.2 billion, Kuwait at $5 billion and Bahrain at $4.2 billion.

OPINION: Are Saudi Arabia and the UAE leading the way to a new order in the Middle East?

Citing the latest data published by the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Trade, the report stated that “the total trade volume between the UAE and six non-Arab African countries, Angola, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Tanzania, surpassed US$8 billion in 2020.” That was followed in 2021 by a further “71 projects worth US$ 5.6bn, with the most significant being The Agtech Park in Egypt”.

The report highlighted that “In particular, the UAE remains focused on high-growth sectors, including infrastructure, energy, transport, logistics, and technology. Over the past decade, the UAE has emerged as one of the largest investors in Africa” among the GCC states. “It is also the fourth-largest investor globally, according to FDI Markets.”

Throughout the past decade, the Emirates has initiated an intense investment drive within Africa, particularly in the establishment, construction, or renovation of ports in order to gain control and influence of maritime routes. One such route is that of the Red Sea to the Suez Canal, in which Abu Dhabi has steadily been building its presence through ports in SomaliaDjibouti, Eritrea and Sudan.

WATCH: UAE, the scramble for the Horn of Africa