Singaporean companies say they are prepared to partner with their African counterparts in harnessing the $712 billion growth potential in the continent’s digital economy.
This was disclosed by Mr Tan Soon Kim, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Global Markets, Enterprise Singapore, at the end of a recently held the seventh edition of the Africa Singapore Business Forum (ASBF).
Mr Kim said: “The digital economy is turbo charging Africa’s growth and is expected to reach $712 billion in 2050, accounting for 8.5 per cent of the continent’s GDP – up from 4.5 per cent in 2020.”
“Singaporean firms have been providing digital solutions, including agri-tech, logistics, retail, fintech, digital trade and smart urban infrastructure, and are ready to contribute in achieving the $712 billion in digital growth,” he added.
This comes on the back of trade in goods of Singaporean firms in various African countries reaching $14.5 billion following a per annum expansion in trade by 15 per cent between 2019 to 2022.
Noting that Singaporean companies’ investments in Africa had cumulatively reached $23.7 billion as of 2021, the Deputy CEO said companies in his country, which served as the gateway to Asia were also diversifying.
That, he said, was in response to growth in high demand for domestically produced goods owing to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), set to boost intra-African trade by 52 per cent.
Mr Kim also said Singaporean businesses were optimistic in partnering local manufacturing and services companies to address demand in food manufacturing, agro-processing, pharmaceuticals and automotive in Africa.
He cited the partnership of Singaporean company, NivéSal in providing project advisory and execution services to support Ghanaian company SKY 40-40 in setting up manufacturing operations in Takoradi as an example.
The partnership has led to the production of sustainable building material products for flooring, furniture boards and construction templates.
The 2023 Africa Singapore Business Forum was on the theme: “Driving Africa’s growth through digitalisation, manufacturing and sustainability.”
The forum forms part of activities of Enterprise Singapore – the Singaporean government agency championing enterprise development and serving as a conduit for trade and investment between Africa and Singapore and a gateway to Asia.
Over 10 activities – business missions, webinars and workshops have been held by the Agency in 2023.
It benefited close to 400 companies in sectors such as retail, healthcare, fintech, information and communications technology (ICT) and logistics.
To facilitate partnerships between African and Singaporean businesses, the Agency has established three overseas Centres in Africa – Johannesburg in South Africa; Accra in Ghana; and Nairobi in Kenya.
These centres engage both government authorities and private sector players in Africa to building business networks, while connecting African companies with relevant Singaporean partners.