Iran seeking deeper trade ties with East Africa
Focusing on banking, insurance and transportation areas, the business forum was attended by senior officials from the two sides including Head of TPO Mohammadreza Modoudi, Kenya’s Ambassador to Tehran Ruqayyah Ahmed Subu, representatives of the foreign ministry, Head of Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) Mohammad Saeidi, Head of TPO’s Africa office Abbas Bagheri and representatives from the two sides’ private sectors.
During the event, various officials from both sides including Modoudi, Baqeri and Ahmed Subu delivered speeches and in the end of the event company representatives and businessmen from the two sides held B2B talks to explore issues regarding the banking, transportation and insurance relations, especially in maritime transportation and shipping.
Africa a green market with huge potentials
Opening the event, the head of Iran’s trade promotion organization welcomed the African guests and expressed hope that such events and forums would be a starting point in formation of a great economic relations between Iran and all African countries.
In his Speech, Modoudi mentioned Iran’s small share in the global trade and noted that Africa could be a gateway through which the country’s trade levels could be raised significantly.
“Iran holds only a two-percent share in the total global trade and Africa, having a 1.3-billion population, could be a great opportunity for Iranian businesses to benefit from,” he said.
The official further mentioned some of the potential areas in which the two sides can cooperate, including investment and joint ventures, infrastructure, engineering and services, agriculture, food industry, development projects, auto industry and etc.
He went on saying that “unfortunately currently the range of exported goods from Iran is really unsatisfactory and only 120 items currently comprise the country’s exports basket”, adding that “Africa is an almost intact market with huge potentials for trade and investment. There is demand for a great variety of commodities and this could help diversify our exports basket.”
Modoudi finally called on the Iranian companies and businessmen to seriously consider opening a venue for trade with Africa and to benefit from the presented opportunity.
“African countries’ requests for Iranian goods and their constantly expanding markets have made them unrivaled trade destinations for Iranian exporters", he said.
The official also voiced the TPO and government’s support for all capable Iranian companies that are interested in trade with East Africa.
East Africa Community, a gateway to new opportunities
In another part of the forum, as the African representative in the event, Kenya’s Ambassador to Tehran Ruqayyah Ahmed Subu delivered her speech.
In her remarks the official underlined the East Africa Community (EAC) countries’ potentials and capabilities and stressed the need for expansion of trade ties between Iran and these nations.
According to Subu, EAC nations namely Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda are all developing countries with great potentials and trade opportunities which can offer huge benefits and advantages for those traders which dare to enter these markets.
She further mentioned some of the exported goods from the East African countries including teas, coffee, minerals, diamond, agricultural products as well as oil and gas and their products.
Elsewhere in her remarks Subu underlined Kenya’s significant position among EAC nations as a gateway to some of the landlocked countries like Uganda and Ruanda.
According to the official, Kenya is following a 2030 vision plan in which the country has put in on the agenda to reach food security, stable housing and manufacturing and also providing affordable accommodation for all the nation.
“In this regard, the interested traders and investors should place especial importance on these four areas in order to benefit from the opportunities presented in the country,” she added.
At the end of the event, the two sides’ businessmen and traders held B2B talks to get to know each other more, and to discuss future cooperation.