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Public, private sectors eyeing African market as new target for exports

By Omar Obeidat - Dec 12,2015 - Last updated at Dec 12,2015

Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply Maha Ali (2nd from left) and Minister of Transport Ayman Hatahet (3rd from left) participate in a workshop on the African market on Thursday (Photo courtesy of Jordan Competitiveness Programme)

AMMAN — Jordanian manufacturers are keen to export to Africa and want the authorities to help them access the market, which they say can make up the losses local industrialists have incurred by the closure of traditional markets in the region. 

During a workshop on the African market, titled "Going to… Africa", representatives of the industry sector stressed the need for diplomatic representation for Jordan in the continent as embassies or trade offices can prepare information on the market and its needs of goods. 

Jordan Chamber of Industry (JCI) President Adnan Abul Ragheb urged the government to launch trade missions to African countries to explore export opportunities and identify the goods and commodities they need. 

Abul Ragheb said local products can compete in Africa due to their high quality and affordable prices, indicating that there is an opportunity for a number of industries such as pharmaceuticals, construction material and cosmetics to expand into the African market. 

Minister of Transport Ayman Hatahet and Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply Maha Ali attended the workshop, held Thursday by the JCI in cooperation with the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Programme, Danish-Arab Partnership and maritime shipping company Maersk Line.

Ali said the government, in cooperation with the private sector, is working to explore the African market and that a study is being prepared, adding that Africa has never been considered as an important market by the authorities or the private sector, but due to shrinking export destinations because of regional unrest and the closure of Iraqi and Syrian markets, it is now important to penetrate new markets. 

She noted that a trade mission is going to visit Ethiopia in the coming days to study business opportunities there, and the government is also working to boost economic ties with a number of countries on the continent. 

Hatahet said the African market should be seen by the public and private sectors as permanent and not only an alternative export destination, citing Djibouti as an important market that can facilitate the entry of Jordanian goods to other countries. 

He called on maritime shipment companies to offer cheaper fares to Africa. 

USAID Mission Director Jim Barnhart said the agency is working with the government on preparing a study on the African market to identify export opportunities there, and it is also working with the JCI to reduce the challenges facing local industries. 

At present, exports to Africa represent only 2.5 per cent of the overall value of the Kingdom's exports to international markets, according to JCI Director Maher Mahrouq. 


More cooperation between the public and private sectors can raise the volume of exports to much higher levels, Mahrouq said. 

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