United Arab Emirates seeks to grow trade ties with Kenya

Khalifa Al Rayssi

Amb. George Orina (left) and Khalifa Al Rayssi, Charge d Affair, UAE Embassy in Kenya.

Photo credit: Winnie Onyando | Nation Media Group

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has committed to growing investments in sectors other than petroleum products in the country, as it targets to boost the non-oil trade with Kenya.

UAE targets to particularly grow investments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Agriculture, as it diversifies its trade relations with Kenya.
During UAE’s commemoration of the 51st day of the union in Nairobi Thursday, Khalifa Al Rayssi, Charge d Affair, UAE Embassy in Kenya said the investment will help in diversifying its investments in the Kenyan economy.

He noted that the UAE will invest in other sectors such as technology as a way of improving Kenya's economy.
“We want to encourage business summits between the two countries as a way of strengthening our business ties,” Mr Al Rayssi said.
He said that the UAE has achieved more than $2 billion in bilateral oil trade and is planning to increase the investment.

“The relationship between the two countries began in 1982 and it is still growing. We are aiming to increase the investment in 2023,” said Al Rayssi.
UAE views Kenya as one of the fast-growing economies globally, hence its plan to grow investments. Al Rayssi said the UAE government will work with Kenya to boost its investments in agriculture and technology.
“UAE had strong relations with the previous government and we still have the same strong relations even with the new government and we are aiming to even strengthen these relations,” he said.
A new trade deal being negotiated with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is expected to open the giant market to Kenya's coconuts and potatoes among other agricultural products to boost non-oil trade between the two countries.

Investment

In July, the two countries began talks on the United Arab Emirates-Kenya Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (UAEK-CEPA) to increase the volume of trade in goods and services and investment.
Just a few months ago, Kenya secured a new trade deal with the UAE to export coconuts and potatoes after a successful pact that saw the first batch of avocados exported to China.
UAE is now Kenya’s second largest source market after China on the back of soaring oil prices, having overtaken India.

Data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics show expenditure on imports — largely petroleum products — from the Middle East more than doubled in the first six months of the year.
Kenyan traders spent a record Sh177.88 billion to buy goods from the oil-rich country, more than double, or 131.90 per cent jump more than Sh77.39 billion in a similar period last year.

That has placed the UAE second in Kenya’s top import markets, above India whose consignments in the country shot up 36.61 per cent in the review period to Sh150.25 billion.

In 2021, total imports from UAE almost doubled to Sh178.5 billion from Sh92.3 billion in 2020 on high expenditure on motor spirit premiums, gas oil and other refined petroleum products. Exports to Dubai recorded a marginal increase of 0.4 per cent to Sh34.6 billion.

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