Iran to boost trade ties with Africa to 'thwart US sanctions'
Iranian and African businessmen and officials came together in a major conference in Tehran to discuss ways to boost commercial ties.
The current trade volume between Iran and Africa is as low as 200 million dollars a year. It is almost nothing compared to a whopping 20 trillion dollar consumer market in Africa.
Iranian authorities say this lucrative market has been neglected for decades, and it is time to interact more with the Black Continent.
To gain a foothold in the continent, Iran faces a major hurdle, and that is US sanctions, which complicate banking transactions.
Furthermore, the Islamic Republic will have to compete with a giant rival in Africa, China; which has the lion’s share in the African economy, possessing roughly 16 percent of the total trade in the continent.
However, given Africa's high demand for energy, food and technology, African officials believe there is still a good chance for Iran to find a position in their market.
Closer interaction with Africa comes as part of Iran's new shift in foreign policy under president Ebrahim Raeisi. Raeisi believes Iran has to focus on thwarting US sanctions instead of waiting for their removal through political negotiations.
The focal point of this new approach is the expansion of ties with non-Western states, and Africa plays a central role in this effort.