Key Vietnamese goods exported to African, western and southern Asian markets, such as aquatic products, coffee, pepper and garments, will serve as a foundation for the country’s future export growth.

Many industrial and electronic products such as mobile phones and computers have also gained entrance into these regions.

Ly Quoc Hung, Head of the African, Western and Southern Asian Markets Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) said that as many as 2,000 businesses shipped commodities to these markets in 2010, up 5 percent from 2009.

Apart from exporting, many Vietnamese businesses are also moving to seek investment opportunities in these regions. Recently, the Truong Thanh Furniture Corporation struck a deal worth 30 million USD to process timber in South Africa .

The Vietnamese military-run telecom provider Viettel, also received a licence to launch a mobile phone network worth 29 million USD in Mozambique , and FPT Group signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation with Nigeria ’s 21 st Century Technologies Company in telecommunications, education and equipment production.

MoIT statistics showed that the total two-way trade between Vietnam and these regions last year hit nearly 14.5 billion USD. Of this figure, Vietnam earned 3.5 billion USD from exports to Africa , up nearly 200 percent from 2010.

During the period, Vietnam ’s exports to the Middle East amounted to 2.4 billion USD, a rise of 45.4 percent and exports to Southern Asia reached 2.1 billion USD, up over 46 percent from 2010.

According to experts, Vietnamese export businesses will enjoy more favourable conditions in the near future, after the Government adopted an export and import strategy for the 2011-2020 period and the vision towards 2030, including measures to speed up production, develop markets, build financial policies to develop exports, logistics infrastructure and human resource and increase competitiveness of businesses and strengthen the role of industry associations.

Additionally, the current MoIT project to develop export businesses’ capacity to promote exports to Africa and an action plan on strengthening relations with the Middle East until 2015 will create new opportunities for Vietnam’s exports to Africa, western and southern Asia in the near future./.