Bilateral trade between Malaysia and the African continent is projected to grow between 10-15 per cent over the next five years.
This is given its vast market potential, said Minister of International Trade and Industry (Miti), Mustapa Mohamed.
He also said Malaysia’s trade with African countries had grown at an average annual rate of 10 per cent in the last decade, with RM12 billion expected in 2006 and projected to rise to RM30 billion in 2015.
He said the growth was contributed by Malaysia’s top trading partners as South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria and Angola.
“Africa has a population of 1.3 billion, as large as China’s, and is growing rapidly. Hence, we believe it is the best time now for Malaysian investors to venture into the region.
“Local companies are urged to tap the opportunities there as it is also a key market for our players in the long term,” he told reporters after officiating the opening of the two-day Africa Business Day, here today.
The objective of the event is to enhance awareness of business opportunities in Malaysia and Africa, as well as promote the imports and export of both.
Malaysia’s trade with the African continent from January to August this year stood at RM17.10 billion, compared to the RM19.03 billion garnered in the same period a year ago.
Malaysia’s main exports to Africa in 2015 was petroleum, chemical and palm-oil based products, processed food and machinery, appliances and parts.
Meanwhile, among Malaysia’s main imports was liquefied natural gas, petroleum products, crude petroleum, metalliferous ores and metal scrap.
Mustapa said the government through Miti and its agencies is pushing for greater bilateral trade with African countries.
This year, over eight trade promotional programmes focusing on Africa, namely an Export Acceleration Mission, capacity building programmes and trade talks have been lined up.
Cumulatively, Malaysian investments in Africa is at US$13.34 billion in various sectors, including construction, oil and gas, power generation, ICT, education, manufacturing, banking, mining and logistics.
African investments into Malaysia were mostly from three countries, namely . South Africa, Mauritius and Egypt.
South Africa is the largest African investor with total cumulative investments of US$91.05 million from 2006 – 2010, Mauritius (US$21.3 million) and Egypt (US$7.03 million).