A three-day Africa – Singapore Summit ended on Thursday, August with stakeholders signing a number of agreements to boost trade relations.
Economic relations between Singapore and Africa continue to expand, as bilateral trade in goods grew by around 15% per annum between 2019 to 2022, reaching $14.5 billion in 2022.
Singapore companies’ investments in the African continent cumulatively reached $23.7 billion as at 2021.
As testament to the robust interest to participate in Africa’s growth opportunities, five agreements were inked at the 7th edition of the Africa Singapore Business Forum (ASBF) 2023 organised by Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG).
Moreover, Singaporean Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong called for strengthening partnerships to address grave challenges , noting that the best response to such challenges is to deepen cooperation across regions.
“At the same time, we continue to strengthen our trade ties with the rest of the world through free trade agreements”, said Yong.
Africa – Singapore Summit, a major boost
Yong witnessed the signing of five memoranda of understanding that aim to boost business partnerships between Africa and partners in such fields as manufacturing, hi-tech agriculture, and environmentally friendly construction materials.
There were 12 country investment panels covering East Africa, West Africa, Southern Africa and North Africa.
In northern Ghana, Singapore-based food company WhatIF Foods has partnered with Pond Foundation, a global non-profit organisation, to trial and scale the production of biochar – a sustainable alternative to traditional fertilisers that will improve soil quality and yield of Bambara groundnuts for more than 30,000 partnering farmers.
To facilitate further growing ties between Singapore and Africa, stakeholders ratified the Kenya-Singapore Bilateral Investment Treaty and formally entered into force on 20 August 2023.
The Treaty will promote greater investment flows between Singapore and Kenya by protecting the interests of both Singapore and Kenyan investors.
Besides, the Treaty provides certainty and signals the commitment of both governments to create favourable conditions for business to thrive.
The Summit ended on August 31, with the theme “Driving Africa’s Growth through Digitalisation, Manufacturing and Sustainability”.
The event gathered more than 500 business and government leaders from 40 countries in attendance.
Demand for domestically produced goods will is set to grow, as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is set to boost intra-African trade by 52%.
Singapore brand owners and manufacturing services companies are keen to partner Africa to address demand in food manufacturing, agro-processing, pharmaceuticals and automotives.
The digital economy is turbo charging Africa’s growth and is expected to reach $712 billion in 2050, accounting for 8.5% of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – up from 4.5% in 2020.