Singapore’s bilateral trade with Africa has grown at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 12 per cent over the past five years, reaching 11 billion US dollars in 2013.
(READ MORE: The African growth story to gain more chapters )
This is according to Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who made the announcement at the third annual Africa Singapore Business Forum (ASBF).
“In the past ten years, Africa’s GDP has grown at an average of 5 per cent per year. It is the fastest growing region outside Asia. This is due to strong investment, a growing middle class, rapid urbanisation, improving infrastructure, and new discoveries of natural resources,” said Ming.
“Global investors are looking more seriously at Africa and investment opportunities and projects there. According to the World Bank, capital flows to sub-Saharan Africa have continued to rise, reaching 5.3 per cent of regional GDP last year, significantly above the developing-country average of 3.9 per cent. Net FDI (foreign direct investment) inflows to the region grew 16 per cent to a near-record 43 billion US dollars in 2013, boosted by new oil and gas discoveries in many countries including Angola, Mozambique, and Tanzania.”
(READ MORE: Growth projected for Africa in 2014 )
The ASBF is the premier platform for growing bilateral trade and investments between the Southeast Asian country and Africa. This year, the forum aims to focus on discussions that will lead to potential business partnerships specifically in areas such as consumer, oil and gas, agri-business and transport and logistics.
On Wednesday, Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) between Singapore, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast to facilitate investment flows have been signed.
An Air Services Agreement (ASA) between Singapore and Zimbabwe was also taken on in order to pave the way for greater connectivity between the two countries.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) was also signed between government agency International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and financial services firm, Deloitte, to promote trade between Singapore and East Africa.
(READ MORE: Nairobi to be the next Singapore: Kidero)
A Centre for African Studies was also launched by the Nanyang Technological University and the Singapore Business Federation to increase the partnership in academia and research.