Economic relations between Singapore and Africa continue to expand, as bilateral trade in goods grew by 15 percent annually between 2019 – 2022 and hit $14.5 billion in 2022.
This was made known during the ongoing Africa Singapore Business Forum (ASBF) themed ‘Driving Africa’s Growth through Digitalisation, Manufacturing and Sustainability.’
“Singapore companies are recognising the value of diversifying their businesses to markets further afield and have been responding to our call to explore Africa,” said Tan Soon Kim, deputy chief executive officer – global markets, EnterpriseSG.
“In 2023, the number of projects facilitated by EnterpriseSG to date exceeds that of 2022. These are projects we provided support – including helping companies clinch new projects and set up offices in Africa,” said in a statement.
According to him, EnterpriseSG has organised over 10 activities including business missions, webinars and workshops across various sectors this year to benefit close to 400 companies.
As a testament to the robust interest to participate in Africa’s growth opportunities, five agreements were inked today at the 7th edition of the Africa Singapore Business Forum (ASBF) 2023, organised by Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG), he noted.
These agreements span manufacturing, digitalisation and technology, sustainable development, transport and logistics sectors.
To facilitate further growing ties between Singapore and Africa, the Kenya-Singapore Bilateral Investment Treaty was ratified by both countries and formally entered into force on August 20, 2023.
The treaty will promote more investment flows between Singapore and Kenya by protecting the interests of both Singapore and Kenyan investors.
It provides certainty and signals the commitment of both governments to create favourable conditions for business to thrive.
According to him, the Demand for domestically produced goods will grow, as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is set to boost intra-African trade by 52 percent.
He stated that Singapore brand owners and manufacturing services companies are keen to partner with Africa to address demand in food manufacturing, agro-processing, pharmaceuticals and automotive.
As an example, Singapore company NivéSal is providing project advisory and execution services to support Ghanaian company SKY 40-40 in setting up manufacturing operations in Takoradi, Ghana to produce sustainable building material products for flooring, furniture boards and construction templates.
The digital economy is turbocharging Africa’s growth and is expected to reach $712 billion in 2050, accounting for 8.5 percent of the continent’s GDP – up from 4.5 percent in 2020.
Singapore firms have been providing digital solutions across a wide range of verticals, from agri-tech to logistics tech, retail tech and fintech, to digital trade and smart urban infrastructure.
Adatos and Tramés are two such firms that, through EnterpriseSG’s facilitation, have signed an MOU with Singapore’s global commodity player Robust International to deploy their solutions in Africa.
While Adatos’ AI solutions provide Robust farmers with agricultural insights such as weather prediction, yield forecast and nutrient usage to improve crop yield, Tramés’ bespoke logistics management solutions will help Robust optimise its supply chain planning in Africa and globally.
Africa’s green economy has also emerged as an area for partnerships alongside Africa’s urbanisation drive and commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In northern Ghana, for example, Singapore-based food company WhatIF Foods has partnered with Pond Foundation, a global non-profit organisation, to trial and scale the production of biochar – a sustainable alternative to traditional fertilisers that will improve soil quality and yield of Bambara groundnuts for more than 30,000 partnering farmers.