UAE, Kenya finalise Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement - GulfToday

UAE, Kenya finalise Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement


Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi and Rebecca Miano.

The United Arab Emirates and Kenya have concluded negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, ushering in a new chapter of trade relations between the two nations that will secure vital East and West supply chains, spur investment into priority sectors, and enhance market access for businesses on both sides.

The CEPA will have significant positive impact on accelerating investment flows in high potential areas such as logistics, healthcare, travel and tourism, infrastructure, and ICT, and will offer a platform for SME cooperation and expansion on both sides.

Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said,”The UAE-Kenya Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement marks a significant milestone in our CEPA program. It is a testament to our commitment to strengthening economic ties with the African continent and to creating new opportunities for businesses and investors in both of our countries.

The UAE-Kenya CEPA will not only boost trade and investment, but also foster innovation and sustainable growth in key sectors such as agriculture, technology and tourism. We look forward to deepening our relationship with Kenya and to further expanding our presence in Africa as a trusted partner and investor.”

Rebecca Miano, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Investments, Trade and Industry, said, “The Kenyan leadership has identified trade as a key lever of economic growth and transformation. We are on a national development path that is seeking to increase industrial output, enhance the quality and global competitiveness of that output, and to expand the opportunities for its export.

The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with the UAE will play a key role in these efforts, enabling our exports to reach important markets in Asia and the Middle East, and also in stimulating the investment inflows that will further develop our national capabilities. We look forward to its implementation and the mutual benefits it will deliver.”

Kenya’s economy, one of the most promising in Africa, experienced real GDP growth accelerating from 4.8% in 2022 to an estimated 5% in 2023, while it is projected that real GDP will grow between 4.5% and 5.2% in 2024. Among others, its services sector, which accounts for 53.6 percent of Kenya’s GDP, and agriculture sector, comprising around a quarter of national GDP, offer vast potential for UAE businesses looking to expand into the region.

Foreign trade remains the cornerstone of the UAE’s economic agenda. In 2023, the UAE’s non-oil trade in goods reached an all-time high of $710 billion, a 12.6% increase on 2022 - and 34.7% more than 2021.

Meanwhile, Uganda’s rich agriculture and the UAE’s technological prowess offer potential synergy to expand bilateral relations, Gen. Odongo Jeje Abubakhar, Ugandan Foreign Minister, told the Emirates News Agency (WAM). As Uganda is primarily an agricultural country, it can meet the UAE’s food needs and acquire UAE’s technology to help add value to Uganda’s agricultural produce, he said during a recent interview in Dubai. “It is only then that we can help the Ugandan population become wealthier and more stable.”

The top diplomat said that Uganda is very excited about the excellent relations with the UAE. Gen. Abubacker explained that the bilateral relations have considerably strengthened in recent years with regular high-level visits and increased flight connectivity between both countries.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni visited the UAE over five times in the last three years, and there are 27 flights a week between the UAE and Uganda, he pointed out.

“This shows you the importance and the growth of our relations. And I believe this can only grow further.”

Uganda wants to enhance the cooperation with the UAE in international security and economy, and the growth of partnership in business is a top priority, the Foreign Minister emphasised.

UAE’s support for Horn of Africa’s peace

Uganda seeks the UAE’s cooperation for peace and development of the Horn of Africa, he said.

“The relationship between Uganda and the UAE is going to grow stronger and more intimate, considering that UAE is very close to the East Africa, particularly the Horn of Africa. It is a relatively fragile region as we speak.”

Uganda is looking forward to the UAE’s cooperation to end violence in the region and create an environment for development, Gen. Abubakhar stressed.

He appreciated the UAE for successfully organising COP28, the UN Climate Conference in Dubai in December. The Foreign Minister expressed his happiness over the headway made by the COP28 in implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“We have been able to get some consensus on how we can work together between the developed and the developing world.”

Uganda as chair of the Group of 77 plus China (G77+China), the largest negotiating bloc of developing countries in the United Nations; and the UAE as chair of COP28 can have a “more interesting and more energised journey to deal with the challenges of climate change,” the top diplomat added.




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