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Singapore Strengthens Economic Ties with African Countries

24 Aug 2016

Agreements will support greater Singapore-Africa Trade and Investment

1. Singapore has strengthened its economic relations with the African region with the signing of three bilateral agreements today. Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) Mr S Iswaran signed an Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) with Ethiopia, a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with Mozambique; and a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (ASA) with Nigeria. The Ethiopia-Singapore DTA was signed with Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tedros Adhanom. The Mozambique-Singapore BIT was signed with Mozambique’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Ernesto Max Elias Tonela. The Nigeria-Singapore ASA was signed with Senator Hadi Sirika, Nigeria’s Minister of State of Aviation.

2. Minister Iswaran said, “While our traditional overseas markets remain important, Singapore companies must venture beyond these markets to seize opportunities in untapped markets in regions such as Africa. Ethiopia, Mozambique and Nigeria are three fast-growing African economies and the agreements signed today signify commitment on the part of Singapore and the respective African governments to support trade, tourism and investment between our countries. We are keen to build a long-term relationship with African countries and will continue to strengthen our economic ties with the African region.”

3. The signings took place at the 4th Africa Singapore Business Forum being held in Singapore from 24 to 25 August 2016. This is a key platform which brings together the business communities from Singapore and Africa every two years. The agreements come at a time of growing interest among the Singapore business community to explore opportunities in Africa. In 2015, Singapore’s total trade with Africa amounted to S$10.95 billion. As of end-2014, Singapore’s stock of Total Direct Investment Abroad in Africa was S$22.1 billion, while Singapore’s stock of Foreign Direct Investment from Africa amounted to S$21.5 billion. Singapore companies are present in Africa in sectors such as urban solutions, agribusiness, and oil and gas.

About the Ethiopia-Singapore Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement

4. The Ethiopia-Singapore DTA clarifies the taxing rights between Singapore and Ethiopia, on all forms of income flows arising from cross-border business activities, and minimises the double taxation of such income. This will lower barriers to cross-border investment and boost trade and economic flows between both countries.

About the Mozambique-Singapore Bilateral Investment Treaty

5. The Mozambique-Singapore BIT is a legally-binding agreement which establishes rules on how the government of Mozambique should treat investments from Singapore, and vice versa. With this agreement, Singapore companies operating in Mozambique will enjoy protection on top of that already accorded under the country’s domestic laws. Singapore investors and investments will be:

· Treated favourably as any other foreign investments;

· Provided prompt, adequate and effective compensation in the event of nationalisation;

· Allowed cross border transfer of capital and returns;

· Given the option to resolve investment disputes amicably through consultation. The agreement also provides Singapore investors the option to resolve the dispute through international arbitration.

About the Nigeria-Singapore Air Services Agreement

6. The Nigeria-Singapore ASA provides a framework to enable the establishment of air linkages between both countries, as carriers from both countries can operate an agreed number of passenger and cargo flights between Nigeria and Singapore, and beyond both countries. This will serve to facilitate the growth of trade, investment and tourism, as well as the people-to- people flows between our two countries.

Annex A: Factsheet on Sub-Saharan Africa-Singapore Economic Relations
(icon_pdf298 KB)

Jointly issued by the  Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Transport
24 August 2016