Danny Faure

President, Seychelles

The UAE is ranked third in terms of the number of visitors coming to Seychelles after France and Germany. In terms of our country's GDP, tourism accounts for 26%. There has been a large amount of investment in tourism by the UAE as well; Four Seasons is an Emirati investment. Currently, there are 28 flights per week from the UAE by carriers Emirates and Etihad. There is a great deal of investment by the UAE into Seychelles. We have also benefited from grants from the UAE government to help support our military and defense, medical care in hospitals, and in schools. All of this has been a huge investment coming from this part of the world. Africa and the Middle East need to partner. It is one thing to have the business; it is another to have the logistics to distribute, export, or import the business. Those logistics are key for economic development. On the other hand, Africa brings agriculture to the table. There is a huge potential in terms of agriculture and mining. If we can concentrate on the partnerships, both continents can benefit from one another. It is a win-win situation. In addition, digitalization has happened faster in Africa than in many countries. There is always something to learn from every country, no matter their level of development.

Baber Gano

Minister of Investment Promotion and Private Sector, Republic of Mali

The cooperation between the UAE and Mali recently experienced a boost that was underlined by the visit to Mali by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the UAE. This fruitful visit resulted in the signing of a number of MoUs to strengthen bilateral relations. It has helped put in place a number of agreements, including a number of MoUs between the governments of Mali and the UAE, covering areas such as security, diplomacy, economy, trade, culture, and sports. One of these agreements was around investment protection to create favorable conditions for investment in both the countries, increase cooperation in the private sector, and stimulate growth and job creation. Furthermore, a convention aiming to prevent double taxation and tax evasion with respect to income taxes was signed. Those conventions are a means of strengthening relations between the two countries in all areas. The UAE and Mali also signed an MoU to exempt citizens from visas to visit the other country, reflecting the strength of the relationship between our two countries. Mali and the UAE have always enjoyed several regional and international common interests, as proven by the many trade exchanges between our countries.

Festus Mogae

Former President, Festus Mogae

Botswana has had bilateral dealings with the Middle East, although trade volumes could definitely be higher. If there is a market somewhere, we should penetrate it and discover the nuances, tailoring our products to the taste of the market. When I became President, I sought to continue to run an open society and environment. We have tried to educate our people, and our literary levels are high, though our skill levels remain low. When compared to the region, we are advanced on this front, though we are still not satisfied, as globally speaking our skills are lacking. This too has impacted our global trading footprint, as skills are vital for communicating with the international community at a basic and business level. In this sense, it would be beneficial to emulate the way the UAE and other countries have successfully built on their education policies to ensure skills are prioritized above all. We see trade and investment relations shifting away from Northern America and Western Europe, and Botswana is responding to that, not by excluding our previous trade partners, but by widening our portfolio. Developing countries should take advantage of the opportunities that are becoming available with a shrinking world and replicate successful policies and practices of countries like the UAE, which is actively engaging with global economic powers in the East.