The food security of the Gulf states is heavily dependent on foreign imports. Europe and the Americas have been the traditional markets supplying food to them, but recent developments in sub-Saharan Africa may encourage Gulf investors to embrace potential opportunities in Africa.
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is likely to produce a hunger for infrastructure and indicates a possible move within Africa to boost internal trade. Gulf states will be looked upon as potential investors in the infrastructure needed to make this policy vision a working reality. Gulf states have typically avoided committing to infrastructure projects on the continent, however, opportunities abound. Helping Africa realise its trading potential could open Gulf investors to agribusiness opportunities on the continent and, in so doing, open a new agricultural market for Gulf states to exploit.
- Tariffs and other trade barriers between African countries are expected to fall if the African Continental Free Trade Area is established.
- Africa will require increased investment in infrastructure, if it is to obtain the greatest benefit from the changes to its trading regime.
- Gulf states, while already strong investors in the sub-Saharan tourism and service industries, are well positioned to increase their investment in African infrastructure.
- Gulf countries could take advantage of those infrastructure requirements and set the foundation for further investment in more industry-focused sectors, like agribusiness, to bolster their food security.