Conference held to tap potential market of Middle East-Africa hinh anh 1Participants at the event (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Foreign Ministry is hosting a meeting with ambassadors from the Middle East and Africa in Hanoi with the aim of boosting trade ties with the region.

The Middle East – Africa region is a large market with more than 1.6 billion people and strong financial resources, especially in the Middle East, which offers lots of trade and investment potential.

Vietnam has always attached great importance to maintaining and developing the traditional friendship and cooperation with other countries in the region. That good relationship is constantly being strengthened and developed which is shown in positive economic data.

To date, Vietnam has established diplomatic relations with 69 of 70 countries in the Middle East – Africa region and has economic ties with all countries, with two-way trade turnover of more than 17.5 billion USD in 2018. This number represented a 300 percent growth compared to 2008.

Vietnamese businesses have invested about 2.6 billion USD in this region and received more than 7 billion USD in foreign direct investment from these countries.

The two sides have also successfully set up many effective cooperation models including bilateral, tripartite and four-sided collaboration with support of a number of developed countries and international organisations.

Bright spots in economic cooperation between the two sides include agriculture, labour, telecommunication, healthcare and education.

Further deepening the cooperation with the Middle East – Africa region has always been one of the priorities in Vietnam’s foreign policy. Vietnam highly appreciates the important role and contribution of the diplomats and diplomatic missions of the Middle East – African countries in Vietnam, as well as other international organisations, to the achievements.

In that spirit, the event will be attended by the heads of the permanent resident and non-resident diplomat missions, honorary consulates of the Middle East - African countries in Vietnam; representatives of some major development partners and international organisations such as the United Nations (UN), World Bank, European Union, Francophone International Organisation, JICA; Vietnamese officials from many ministries, sectors and localities; and businesses of the two sides.

The conference will hear the update on Vietnam’s socio-economic development and major orientations in its foreign policy, especially the country’s highest priorities during its term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2020-21.

Discussions will focus on the situation of cooperation between Vietnam and the Middle East - Africa region, including the collaboration between the Vietnamese ministries and sectors with diplomatic missions of the regional countries; ways and means to increase imports and exports between the two sides.

Especially, the possibility of opening a new model of cooperation in the agriculture sector and boosting cooperation in the telecommunication sector between Vietnam and the region will be given special attention. These are two important fields of mutual interest.

Delegates will also have tours to the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences – the leading research unit in the agricultural and fishery sciences of Vietnam -  and Viettel Group – a Vietnamese telecom company with extensive experience in doing business in Africa.

The event is meaningful with trade tensions rising and Vietnamese exports to traditional markets are gradually approaching the saturation point. Boosting trade cooperation with new markets such as Middle East - Africa is a necessary and achievable way for Vietnamese businesses to grow. – VNA