The importance of countries working together, and a whole-of-country joined up approach to leveraging trade and investment opportunities, was showcased at the ANZBC annual general meeting on 8 December.
Keynote speakers H.E Mrs Dina El Sehy, Egypt's Ambassador to New Zealand, and the Director Strategic Partnerships at the Moroccan Investment and Export Development Agency, Mr Ali Mehrez, addressed a diverse international audience to talk about how their respective countries have targeted trade development and attracting foreign business investment in the midst of Covid-19 upheaval. MFaT's Finnian Cheshire also presented on NZ's trade recovery strategies, and the Government's focus on Africa as an untapped market.
In his annual report, ANZBC chair Tim Jago noted the many trade-focussed events delivered by ANZBC throughout the year, the addition of several new strategic partners including business advisory multi-national Grant Thornton (NZ) Asoko Insights - an Africa based business intelligence consultancy – and a closer working relationship with the NZ Middle East Business Council and the Australia New Zealand Business Council.
In other business, the AGM unanimously endorsed the organisation reconstituting in 2022 as the Africa New Zealand Business Chamber, and approved an expanded and strengthened statement of purpose:
Promote, encourage and facilitate trade, services provision, investment, economic and societal interaction between New Zealand and countries on the African continent;
Ensure that the plans, views and concerns of the business communities in New Zealand and the countries of Africa are clearly and constructively conveyed to the member countries.
Promote sound trade policy and practices between New Zealand and the countries of Africa, in both a bilateral and multilateral context.
The AGM also formalised local hub arrangements that give ANZBC greater presence across New Zealand. Hubs have functioned to great effect in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland over the past year as part of a pilot programme to better enable members outside of Auckland to participate. Christchurch based Karim Sabet was elected ANZBC’s deputy chair.
Another innovation sees the introduction of a new Advisory Panel to work in support of the Board. The panel will allow several sector experts to contribute to ANZBC programmes and services, and includes provision for Africa-based representatives to advise on regional issues and opportunities.
We wish all our members and supporters a restful break, and we will see you in the New Year.
Tim Jago | ANZBC Chair