Kenya and the UAE have begun discussions around the creation of an agreement to bolster trade and investment.
Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Betty Maina, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development of Kenya, have signed a joint statement in Nairobi announcing the beginning of negotiations to form a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the UAE and Kenya. The signing took place at the UAE’s embassy in Nairobi.
Boosting bilateral trade
When officially introduced, the CEPA will be the first bilateral trade agreement signed between the UAE and an African state. The agreement seeks to boost trade and investment between the UAE and Kenya. One of the key aims of the agreement is to boost non-oil bilateral trade between the two states. Non-oil trade between Kenya and the UAE stood at USD 2.3 billion in 2021.
In an effort to boost non-oil trade, trade barriers on a series of goods and services will be eliminated, with the intention of creating new markets and opportunities for exports and imports within both countries. The Kenyan government is thought to be particularly eager to make use of the UAE’s strategic location and strong infrastructure in order to reach new markets.
“There is tremendous opportunity for closer economic integration between our two nations, especially in agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, technology and renewable energy,” said Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi. “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.”
Kenya: The strongest economy in East Africa
Kenya’s economy is the largest in East Africa and is predicted to grow by 5.5% this year. 2021 saw growth of 7.5% and the slowdown has been attributed to pressures on global markets. The country’s financial services sector is growing quickly, and its manufacturing industry is performing well, though tourism and agriculture remain among its strongest sectors.
Talks regarding the CEPA will begin in the coming months, according to a ministerial statement. The UAE has signed three such agreements this year, with India, Israel and Indonesia. The CEPAs are part of the UAE’s “Projects of the 50” plan, which aims to cement the UAE’s position as a global business hub.
Abu Dhabi recently signed an agreement designed to boost trade with West African states.