As the UAE and Kenya plan to remove trade and investment barriers on a wide range of goods and services to promote non-oil bilateral trade, an agreement has recently been reached between the two nations to launch a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), the first of its kind between the Gulf and an African country.
The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi and Betty Maina, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development of Kenya announced CEPA after signing a Joint Statement in Nairobi. The negotiations will begin soon in the coming months.
The economic integration between the two nations will open up huge business opportunities to the importers and exporters in both countries and while the Kenyan companies can benefit from the strategic geographic and logistical position of the United Arab Emirates, the UAE companies can leverage the vast agricultural and other natural resources of Kenya.
The UAE-Kenya non-oil bilateral trade grew to USD 2.3 billion in 2021 and the signing of this CEPA will further enhance the value of trade and investment between Africa and the Middle East. While oil is Kenya’s main import from the UAE; intermediate products, stones and glass, vegetables, consumer goods, and raw materials are the main products that the UAE imports from Kenya. There are many Kenyan entrepreneurs eagerly looking to establish a business base in Dubai and can hire services of a reputed business set up consultants in Dubai to do so.
Kenya is the largest economy in east Africa with a GDP growth forecast of 5.5% in 2022. While agriculture and tourism are the two most dominant and flourishing sectors in the country, financial services and competitive manufacturing sectors do also look promising. Adoption and development of green technology are also high on the agenda of the Kenyan economy.
Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi added, “There is a tremendous opportunity for closer economic integration between our two nations, especially in agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, technology and renewable energy. Announcing our intention to begin negotiations on the UAE-Kenya CEPA reflects our shared commitment to achieving greater economic progress through trade and investment. Our efforts to establish strategic economic partnerships worldwide through our CEPAs will fast-track our growth and prosperity for the next 50 years.”
Before commencing the high-level CEPA negotiations with Kenya, the UAE recently completed three CEPAs this year, namely with India, Israel and Indonesia under the ‘Projects of the 50’ initiative to help grow the national economy by 2.6% by 2030 as noted by Dr Thani earlier.
As highlighted by the Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq, the UAE plans to sign a total of 27 similar trade deals for enhancing trade and foreign direct investment into the country and attracting foreign investors for company formation in Dubai UAE.
UAE featured among the top 20 recipients of foreign direct investment during 2021 as FDI inflows increased 4% yearly to USD 20.7 billion.
Kenya is among the 8 countries that the UAE wants to deepen and strengthen ties with. Dubai chamber considers the Kenyan market as a strategic one both for Dubai and the chamber.