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Green finance focus of UAE-Rwanda trade ambitions

Adult, Male, Man Noura Al Kaabi, the UAE's minister of state, met Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda, at the Joint Economic Committee earlier this month Wam
Noura Al Kaabi, minister of state at the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda, at the Joint Economic Committee earlier this month
  • Kigali and Abu Dhabi sign agreement
  • Sustainable finance in the spotlight
  • ‘Pivotal moment’ in partnership

With trade between the UAE and Rwanda topping $1 billion last year, Kigali International Financial Centre and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) are to work together on developing green and Islamic finance options.

The two markets have signed an agreement to establish a framework for collaboration, with sustainable finance highlighted as a “major focus” for the future.

Salem Mohammed Al Darei, CEO of ADGM Authority, described the agreement as a pivotal moment in efforts to develop robust partnerships on the African continent. 

Latest figures from the UAE Ministry of Economy show that bilateral trade exceeded $1.1 billion in 2023, making the UAE Rwanda’s biggest trade partner.

Rwanda exports about 60 tonnes of horticultural products to the UAE every week, a volume expected to increase. John Mirenge, the Rwandan ambassador to the UAE, said Rwanda was keen to expand trade to “new and advanced” sectors, including logistics and e-commerce.

However, Vikas Lakhwani, chief revenue officer at CPT Markets in Dubai, said challenges to trade growth include Rwanda's limited production capacity, while red tape and regulations in both countries “could pose obstacles”.

UAE and Rwanda trade and investment
  • In February the UAE concluded negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with Rwanda's East African neighbour Kenya. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the UAE's  minister for foreign trade, teased in a LinkedIn post that “more African nations will soon join them”
  • Twenty-six Rwandan companies operate businesses in Dubai, particularly in the logistics sector, while 14 UAE companies have pledged investment of more than $320 million in Rwanda in logistics, hospitality, mineral processing, manufacturing, transportation and agriculture
  • DP World’s plans to expand port facilities in Kigali and regular RwandAir flights to Dubai are likely to support future bilateral trade and investment growth
  • Kigali hosted the first session of the Joint Economic Committee between the UAE and Rwanda earlier this month, with talks centred on sectors such as energy, education and space technology

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