Singapore businesses express readiness to forge stronger business collaborations with the
Republic of Congo
Engaging Congo as a gateway to business ventures in Central and Francophone Africa
Contract and Memorandum of Understanding forged between Singapore and Congo
to facilitate economic ties
Singapore, Wednesday, 06 July 2011 - The Singapore Business Federation (SBF), Government of the Republic of Congo and the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) jointly organised the Congo-Singapore Business Reception today, in conjunction with the official state visit to Singapore by the President of the Republic of Congo, His Excellency Denis Sassou-Nguesso and his accompanying 20-member strong ministerial delegation.
Held at the Fullerton Hotel, this business reception updated and appraised the Singapore business community on the economic developments and business opportunities in Congo.
Sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly viewed as an opportunity rather than a burden. It is rising rapidly up the agenda for global investment managers and is talked about as never before in almost every big financial centre. The World Bank predicts FDI into sub-Saharan Africa in 2011 will reach $40.8bn, up from $32bn last year. In addition, Congo's strategic geographical location and its membership in the Economic Community of Central Africa States (also known as CEMAC) facilitates its natural advantage of becoming a gateway to the sub region of Central Africa and the greater Francophone Africa.
At the reception, H.E. Denis Sassou-Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo shared with the Singapore business community that "Congo is currently embarking on a transformative economic development plan to develop new value adding sectors to accelerate the diversification of the economy and we are committed to improve the business environment and remove key obstacles that have so far discouraged investors to settle in Congo."
Noting the potential of investment and trade with sub-Saharan Africa, Amb. Shabbir Hassanbhai, Chairman of the Africa Business Group (AfBG) of SBF commented, "The visit by Congo's high-powered ministerial delegation will allow Singapore companies an opportunity to consider venturing and operating through Congo and using it as a gateway to reach out to a preferential market of close to 100million consumers that CEMAC allows access to 5 countries including Cameroon, Gabon, Chad, Central Africa Republic and Equatorial Guinea. Moreover, Congo also has the added advantage of close proximity to Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is considered one of the famous 'big 5' markets in Africa."
SBF is currently exploring the feasibility of sending a business delegation to Congo as a follow-up to this state visit later this year.
Economic ties between Singapore and Congo will also be forged with the signing of a Contract between Mr Alphonsus Chia, Chief Executive Office of SCE, and Mr Alain Akouala Atipault, Minister at the Presidency in charge of Special Economic Zones, for the provision of master-planning consultancy services for the Congolese Special Economic Zones of Oyo-Olllombo and Pointe Noire. In addition, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will also be signed between The Ministry of Industrial Development and Private Sector Promotion and SCE, where Singapore will share her experience in the development of the industrial sector with the Republic of Congo.
About Africa Business Group
The Africa Business Group (AFBG) is formed under the auspices of the Singapore Business Federation (SBF). The AFBG was launched in July 2010 during the inaugural Africa-Singapore Business Forum, where Mr. Lee Yi Shyan, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Manpower, was the Guest-of-Honor and witness.
The AFBG will be a platform to facilitate the exchanges between the Singapore business community and their counterparts from the African region. Partnering business associations and investment promotion agencies in the African region, AFBG will assist Singapore companies to make inroads into the fast growing markets of Africa and play a part in the developmental needs of region. AFBG is headed by Mr. Shabbir Hassanbhai, Council Member, SBF and Director, Indo Straits Trading Co Pte Ltd.