20 January 2021
Regional/UAE – Emirates Airlines has suspended all flights to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. The airline will continue to fly twice weekly to Perth. Qatar Airlines and Etihad Airways continue to fly to Australia, which should prevent any significant drop in capacity.
Egypt – The Egyptian Government is seeking international collaboration on a number of upcoming mining projects. The Government is interested in advisory services that will aid reform in the mining industry and in establishing a specialist mining college. This move creates opportunities for Australian mining, METS and education service providers.
Morocco – The country’s defence sector is expanding and may prove receptive to Australian defence-equipment suppliers.
Qatar – The regional isolation of Qatar within the Gulf region is being scaled back. Flights have resumed between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and it is expected that flights from the UAE will resume shortly. This will benefit Australian exporters who have intra-regional operations. Trade routes with Qatar will now reopen and Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have agreed to normalise relations.
Food & Agri
Kuwait - The permitted shelf-life for chilled vacuum-packed beef – which had been increased from 90 to 120 days – will revert to 90 days. This is due to meat from other markets (mainly Brazil) causing food health and safety issues. Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, and Austrade are attempting to seek an exemption from the Kuwaiti Authorities for Australian meats to maintain the 120-day shelf-life standard.
Morocco – Demand for top-quality beef is rising – despite high local tariffs. A local importer/customer is about to launch an online delivery platform of high-end beef to final consumers, the first of this kind in the market. It will also supply top-end food service facilities in the country. Market research suggests the emergence of an affluent market segment that is willing to pay for Australian Angus and Wagyu. Currently, meat tariffs can vary from 10% on beef patties to 200% on prime cuts.
The Gulf – Demand for Australian meat appears high. A recent, virtual meat-buyers’ event – jointly run by Austrade – attracted 80 Australian clients and 23 Gulf-based customers. Post-event interest was strong.
Africa – Governments across Africa are proving receptive to bids for developing green energy projects. Examples include the government of Ethiopia, Kenya and Cameroon. Some Australian companies have successfully delivered wind-farm projects in Africa, including especially Eastern and Sub-Saharan Africa. Public-private partnerships are being used.
Egypt – The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources in Egypt is seeking to update the mining sector’s work procedures to match international standards. Additionally, the Government is interested in accessing advisory services that will aid reform and help in establishing a specialised mining college in Egypt – perhaps in collaboration with an Australian university.
Nigeria – The Nigerian Government is implementing a comprehensive plan to diversify its economy away from oil and towards the ‘solid’ mineral sector. Gold is one opportunity. Currently, mining contributes just 0.5% to Nigeria’s GDP, and expansion will require an influx of technology and expertise. Austrade is assessing the opportunities for Australian METS companies.
South Africa – The Mineral Council of South Africa has announced a new Mining Charter to promote development in the mining industry. The Charter requires greater commitment from foreign companies operating in the resources sector. This means Australian METS companies may need to either partner with a local South African company to supply into the country’s mining industry, or consider registering a local subsidiary company.
Education & EdTech
UAE – There is rising interest in edtech. School programs are currently designed for face-to-face delivery and the quality of online education appears to be lagging other advanced economies. In particular, curricula have not been re-designed for distance learning and home schooling is currently the norm. Schools are beginning to embrace advanced learning and aligning their curricula to adaptive learning, including via virtual reality and artificial intelligence. This creates opportunities for Australian edtech businesses.
UAE – UAE universities are reducing their operational costs and investing in R&D to maintain and improve world rankings. As a result they are interested in research collaborations with Australian universities that will in the long run lead to commercial outcomes. Traditionally, the focus on R&D has been low in the UAE. Initial areas of focus will be on genetics (human and agricultural); clean and renewable energy; aerospace (including space) and supply chains and logistics. Governments in the UAE are announcing directives to improve research. The focus in Abu Dhabi is on corporate research, and policies aim to create a link between academia and researchers to develop new innovative products.
Africa – Education institutions in West Africa and East Africa are increasing their uptake of edtech across the region, in particular e-learning frameworks that will guide curricula development at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Austrade will showcase Australian capability to policy makers in the region to facilitate the market entry of Australian EdTech to education platforms and service providers.
Health & medtech
Sub-Saharan Africa – Australian companies are a growing presence in healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Companies with targeted and disruptive offerings in the health-tech industry are entering or expanding across the region. Examples include artificial intelligence-powered clinical coding in Kenya, and molecular diagnostics in South Africa. Due to COVID-19, more governments in the SSA region are committing to providing universal health coverage and improving their spending on the sector.
Sub-Saharan Africa – Changes in health policy may create new opportunities for Australian telemedicine providers. Governments across sub-Saharan Africa are trying to minimise the movement of people as they move from regional areas to cities to seek medical assistance. Currently, banks, telecoms-providers and private health-service companies are partnering to provide customers with an array of e-health products. These services aim to enable doctors to remotely diagnose, treat and monitor patients for general medical problems.
Kenya & Nigeria – Telecommunications companies and local telemedicine service providers are partnering to scale up telemedicine solutions, which include internet consultation and diagnosis. The insurance sector is supporting initiatives by reimbursing costs associated with services. These strategic partnerships provide an opportunity for Australian companies, including those involved in drone technology, telemedicine, online pharmacies, remote disease-tracking and remote patient-monitoring systems.
Dubai – New themes will create fresh opportunities for Australian exporters at EXPO 2020 Dubai, now scheduled for October 2021. ‘Innovation’ has been added to ‘Sustainability’, ‘Education’ and ‘Partnering for economic growth’. The DFAT and Austrade Expo taskforce is conducting programming workshops with the states and territories – and industry stakeholders – to validate Australia’s priorities post-COVID.