Organised by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the forum was attended by Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, Hussein Ibrahim Taha, Chadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and African Integration, and Mohamed Hamed Qua, Minister of Industrial Development and Private Sector Development in Chad.
A ministerial delegation from Chad that included more than 10 ministers and over 400 Emirati and Chadian companies operating in different investment sectors, also took part in the forum, which kicked off on Wednesday morning at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi.
Addressing the opening session, Al Mansouri said that the UAE adopts a pioneering economic model based on flexibility and openness to build successful partnerships with countries across the globe. He further pointed out that African markets have risen to prominence recently.
"No doubt, the friendly country of Chad represents a significant destination for trade and investment co-operation amongst such important African markets," he said.
Al Mansouri added that the UAE and Chad share strong bilateral relations based on friendship, respect and shared interests. He expressed the mutual desire of the two countries to improve these relations in different fields, especially economic and trade.
He said that trade exchange between the UAE and Chad witnessed considerable growth over the past year rising from US$177 million in 2015 to $245 million last year, pointing out that such a growth rate does not reflect the economic capabilities of both sides.
"This draws our attention to the need to increase dialogue and co-ordination to specify the means of increasing economic and trade co-operation according to a clear vision and goals that serve the best interest of the UAE and Chad, in addition to exploring the available investment opportunities and deepening trade and investment ties between the private sector of the UAE and that of Chad," he elaborated.
The UAE Minister invited investors in Chad to seize the opportunity and benefit from the huge investment and trade opportunities in the UAE emphasising that developing Emirati investment abroad is an important aspect of the economic policy of the country.
"Thanks to this policy, the UAE today is the biggest Arab investor in the world. Its total direct foreign investment that outflows into the world in 2016 alone reached $16 billion, which is 54 percent of the total outflows of Arab countries combined. Emirati investments abroad witnessed huge expansion, especially over the past few years and reached most world countries and, thanks to that, gained good fame and great experience in different sectors, especially oil and gas, hospitality, tourism, logistics, transportation, telecommunications, ports management, agricultural and industrial investments, mining and infrastructure."
Mohammed Thani Al-Rumaithi, Chairman of the Federation of the UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber, in a press statement, stated that the UAE and Chad share friendly relations. However, these exceptional relations did not reflect enough in trade exchanges and economic co-operation.
"The volume of trade exchange between the UAE and Chad is below our ambitions. Abu Dhabi was able to achieve considerable capabilities in attracting direct foreign investments, which exceeded AED95 billion by the end of 2016. In addition, Abu Dhabi economy offers a great number of investment opportunities in a number of sectors including education, healthcare, renewable energy, technology transfer, the industry, real estate and infrastructure," he said.
Hussein Ibrahim Taha, Chad Minister of Foreign Affairs and African Integration, extended his appreciation to the wise leadership of the UAE headed by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for their support to the economy of Chad and for organising this forum.
The minister announced that his country will exempt Emiratis from pre-obtained entry visas to Chad; besides, it will sign very important economic and investment co-operation agreements with the UAE. He called on businessmen to take advantage of this forum and sign MoUs and investment agreements that serve the best interests of the UAE and Chad.
Mohamed Hamed Qua, Minister of Industrial Development and Private Sector Development in Chad, conveyed the greetings of the President of Chad and expressed his appreciation to the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry and all the participants in the forum for supporting Emirati investments in his country.
During the opening session, two agreements were signed. The first one was between the Federation of the UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the National Council of Chadian Employers, and the second agreement was signed between the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Chad Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture, Mining and Handicrafts, CCIAMA.
Mohammed Thani Al-Rumaithi, Chairman of the Federation of the UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber, signed the agreement on behalf of the Chamber, whereas Adoudou Artine Amir, President of CCIAMA, signed the agreement on behalf of his organisation.