Domestic Economy

Iran Eyes Opportunities in African Continent

Iran Eyes Opportunities in African ContinentIran Eyes Opportunities in African Continent

Establishment of cordial relations based on mutual respect and all-out cooperation with Africa have always been one of the priorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy.

Iran’s First Vice President Es’haq Jahangir made the statement addressed to the First Conference on Economic and Trade Cooperation Opportunities Between Iran and Africa on Tuesday, IRNA reported.

“Today the world is witnessing economic growth in many African countries. The continent’s growing population, its abundant natural resources and significant competitiveness promise a bright future for Africa and even the whole world’s economy,” the statement read.

“I believe Iran’s political, social, economic, tourism, health, infrastructure, workforce education, marine transportation, scientific and technological capacities can be of great help to the implementation of macroeconomic projects in Africa,” it added.

“To reach a systematic, goal-oriented collaboration with African countries, Iran set up ‘Africa Committee’ chaired by Iran’s first vice president. The move is a testament to Iranian statesmen’s determination to expand all-out relations with all African countries.”

Jahangiri also encouraged Iranian ambassadors to make the best of the positive atmosphere following the conclusion of Iran nuclear deal with world powers, better known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, to cement ties between the public and private sectors of the respective sides.

According to the vice president, over the past 15 years, sub-Saharan African economies have expanded at an average rate of about 5% a year, enough to double output over the period.

“To boost relations in the post-sanctions era, specific action plans should be devised for each African country,” said Iran’s Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh in a keynote speech at the forum.

“Iran enjoys high potential in oil and gas, being capable of implementing large-scale projects in African states. Iranian firms have already carried out dam, power plant, water and wastewater and electricity projects in Africa.”

Referring to the fact that there is not even one direct air link between Iran and Africa, Nematzadeh called for the establishment of direct flights to at least one African state.

Echoing the same remarks, the director general of African Affairs in Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Hossein Molla-Abdollahi, said no country has ever boosted its economy without having strong air links with other parts of the world.

“Turkey has direct flights with as many as 48 African countries, therefore establishment of direct air routes with African countries is a pressing need,” he added.

The industries minister referred to the ‘Beyond Border Farming’ program and said land outsourcing is among the government’s top priorities.

Ghana is reportedly one of the few African countries where Iran has implemented the program, thanks to a variety of factors, including climate suitability and availability of arable land.

‘Beyond Border Farming’ program is aimed at reducing domestic water consumption and ensuring food security by leasing arable land in other countries for growing water-intensive crops such as oilseeds and grains.  

An 80-member South African delegation visited Iran this week to “tap the opportunity to implement mechanisms for the reestablishment of trade in agro-processed horticulture and aquaculture products, and to exchange skills and technology in the agricultural and fisheries sectors,” said the country’s deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, prior to his arrival on Saturday.

The two countries signed three memoranda of understanding for establishing a joint center to share intelligence and fight money laundering, forming a common capital market and expanding technical and economic cooperation.

The agreements were reached in a meeting between a visiting South African delegation and high-ranking Iranian officials in Tehran.