Enterprise Singapore, an agency that champions the Asia country’s enterprise development, has said it has identified viable investment opportunities in Africa’s digital economy and manufacturing sector for Singaporean companies to tap into.
“Africa’s rapid growth and thriving digital economy offer rich opportunities for Singapore companies seeking higher growth and market diversification. We are encouraged to see our local companies, including SMEs, venturing into Africa and gaining traction there.
We hope many more can tap onto platforms like the biennial Africa Singapore Business Forum and connect with our three regional offices in Africa to spark even closer business exchange and partnerships,” said Png Cheong Boon, Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Singapore.
In addition to traditional sweet spots like oil and gas, and urban infrastructure solutions, he noted that Enterprise Singapore has identified Africa’s thriving digital economy and its manufacturing industry as two new growth engines.
He indicated that his outfit has successfully facilitated close to 50 projects for Singapore companies in Africa in the last two years, of which 80 per cent of has been undertaken by small and medium enterprises.
“More local companies are turning towards Africa as the continent progressively opens up to through digitalisation, regional integration and global trade, offering opportunities across various industries. Over 60 Singapore companies are present in Africa, operating across more than 40 African countries and multiple industries,” Mr Boon added.
Addressing Africa’s manufacturing needs
Commenting on Africa’s manufacturing sector, he noted that many African countries are embracing manufacturing as a key economic growth strategy to boost exports, upgrade domestic enterprise capabilities, and create higher-skilled employment.
In this regard, he said Singapore’s manufacturing services companies with expertise in plant construction and design, equipment set-up, production workflow planning, quality control and testing, and skills training will be able to support manufacturers to expand production across the continent.
Mr Boon added that “Africa’s agri-food manufacturing sector, for example, presents a tremendous market potential for Singapore companies across the value chain – from agri-tech and food production to food processing and packaging.
Africa’s food production industry is poised to be worth $1 trillion by 2030 as the continent seeks to substitute imports with high-value domestically-manufactured food. Larger local companies such as Olam, Wilmar, Tolaram and Vega Foods, have gone beyond trading and distribution, to vertically integrate agri and food processing into their operations.”
Enterprise Singapore supports Singapore companies expand business opportunities by connecting them to local networks and working closely with African governments to create a business-friendly environment, through the three regional offices in Africa.
Two months ago, its Nairobi overseas centre was opened recently in June 2018, while the two others in Accra and Johannesburg have been in operation since 2013. Business activities in North Africa are undertaken by the Dubai overseas centre.
Currently, there are 13 Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) between Singapore and African countries.