MATRADE Chief Executive Officer Dzulkifli Mahmud. (Photo: MATRADE)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Bilateral trade between Malaysia and Africa has been growing at a gradual pace and is expected to climb 4-5 percent this year, according to the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE).

MATRADE Chief Executive Officer Dzulkifli Mahmud said the two-way trade rose from 26.6 billion RM in 2013 to 29.4 billion RM in 2014.

As of November last year, the figure was 27.5 billion RM, a year-on-year increase of 3.2 percent. Of which, Malaysia’s export was 18.9 billion RM, up 6.7 percent.

The Southeast Asian country mainly shipped to Africa palm oil and palm-based products, petroleum products, chemical products and processed foods.

The MATRADE encourages Malaysian companies, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to grab business opportunities in the African markets, notably in health tourism and education, Dzulkifli said at a press conference after hosting 15 delegates from Senegal, West Africa in Kuala Lumpur on January 22.

To facilitate business networking between both sides’ firms, MATRADE will organise a series of seminars, forums and exhibitions this year to help them better understanding of the opportunities available.

Ambassador of Senegal to Malaysia Adrienne Diop expressed her hope that Malaysian firms, particularly those in oil and gas, automotive and agriculture industries, would share their successful stories and expertise with their peers in Senegal.

Both Diop and Dzulkifli believed that it is the best time to venture into Africa.-VNA