Last updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Africa and Middle East: New Partners for DevelopmentPosted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012
According to the secretariat of Vietnam-Africa-Middle East Business Forum, Vietnam-Africa-Middle East Conference will be held early September this year with the theme “New partners for development”. On the sidelines, activities will be also organised, including Africa-Middle East Business Forum.
The secretariat said, based on the planning and approval of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), in the first six months of this year, the Vietnam-Africa-Middle East Business Forum’s activities were carried out successfully as planned.
Vietnam-Africa-Middle e-gate available at www.vinafrimideast.com was built in three languages of English, Vietnamese and Saudi Arabian, playing an important role in trade promotion. It is also an effective tool in information exchange between Vietnamese companies and those from Africa and the Middle East.
Through the forum, many transaction contracts between Vietnamese firms and those from Africa and the Middle East were signed. More Vietnamese investors eye business opportunities in Africa and the Middle East.
The forum joined hands with the Angola embassy in Vietnam to hold Vietnam-Angola business forum and bussiness-to-bussiness (B2B) exchange between the two-country companies in Hanoi on February 2012 on occasion of Deputy Angolan Prime Minister’s visit to Vietnam. The B2B event attracted nearly 200 Vietnamese and Angolan firms. During the event, a singing ceremony on implementing US$3-million military housing projects took place.
The forum also cooperated with the Iranian embassy in Hanoi to hold Vietnam-Iran business forum and meetings for the two-side companies on June 18 in Hanoi and June 21 in HCM City. More than 20 Iranian companies operating in the fields of agriculture, water, construction materials, animal husbandry, banking, transport and medicine participated at the activities. Iranian companies are interested in importing agricultural products, medicine and garment, textile and products from Vietnam. However, the payment between the two sides still faces difficulties because the embargo placed on Iran. Within the visit framework, the forum arranged Iranian business delegation directly work with managers of Hanoi Trade Corporation (Hapro) and visit instant noodle and vegetarian food. They also met with leaders from Hung Yen province People’s Committee and fibre and animal feed factories at local industrial parks. The Iranian side pays special attention to Vietnamese garment and textile products, expecting to receive Vietnam’s technology transfer.
Getting support from International Trade Centre (ITC) and International Organization of Francophone (OIF), the forum sent representatives to join wood trading conference and international business forum at the Republic of the Congo on May 4-13. At the conference, Vietnamese enterprises signed import contracts with Congolian partners valued at EUR3.5 million. Within the conference’s framework, VCCI inked a cooperation agreement with Congo’s Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture of Pointe-Noire in order to beef up investment and trade relations between the two countries.
In addition, the forum also assisted the Vietnamese delegation to explore the investment environment at the Republic of Niger on June 9-15; introduced the market of Africa the Middle East for companies in Thanh Hoa and Ninh Binh Provinces in Thanh Hoa on February 22, attracting nearly 100 delegates from businesses, departments and agencies from the two provinces.
Mr Le Dang Dung, Deputy General Director of Viettel Group and Chairman of the Vietnam-Africa-Middle East Business Forum, Africa and the Middle East is market which is suitable for Vietnamese firms. They have great potentials and particularly are not demanding like many others. These markets have import demand for all products of Vietnamese strength such as agriculture products, rice, construction materials, garment and textile, footwear, electronic components and medicines. Vietnamese companies should focus on investing on the markets.
Currently, a number of Vietnamese companies have opened their representative offices at African countries. Viettel has invested in the Republic of Mozambique with a total investment of US$493 million. Mr Dung said, Viettel is going to launch new projects in Tanzania by the end of this year. The group is also planning to invest in some others markets, including Kynia and Nigeria.
“We are among the first Vietnamese investors in Africa and the Middle East, therefore, we really want to support other local companies to explore the markets,” Mr Dung confirmed.
In the coming time, besides maintaining management and updating information on the Vietnam-Africa-Middle East e-gate; building documents on key Africa and Middle markets serving information exchange, customers and taxes, the forum will send a mission of around of 15 companies to explore the markets, hold conferences and business forums in Africa and the Middle in the third quarter of 2012. The forum will also compile and print directory books of trade promotion organisations about Africa and the Middle East.
Especially, the forum will join hands with African and the Middle East embassies in Hanoi and the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade to organise conferences to introduce markets of localities like Danang, Binh Thuan, Kien Giang, Khanh Hoa, Lao Cai, Yen Bai and Nghe An to supply participants tax, investment and trade policies of Africa and the Middle East.
Because Africa and the Middle East are too far from Vietnam, it is quite difficulty for Vietnamese firms to explore these markets. Besides, their understanding of the markets remains modest. Thus, the Government’s support for them is very necessary at the moment. The Government needs to instruct ministries, agencies and people’s committees of provinces to assist forums to increase both quality and scale.
Furthermore, most of trade transactions and payment between Vietnamese and those from Africa and the Middle East are carried out through partners and third banks which are prestigious in Europe or the US. The Government should encourage Vietnamese banks to set up their agents and representative offices in Africa and the Middle East. The Government needs to set up a fund to offer guarantee and support for Vietnamese companies in doing business in these markets.