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UAE and Kenya sign mining and technology deal

The UAE and Kenya will work will work together on mineral exploration, processing, marketing and mine development Alamy via Reuters
The two countries will work will work together on mineral exploration, processing, marketing and mine development

The UAE and Kenya have signed an agreement to boost investment in the mining and technology sectors, as the Gulf state focuses on Africa to enhance its precious metals and minerals reserves.

As part of the agreement, the UAE Ministry of Investment and the Republic of Kenya Ministry of Finance and National Treasury will work together on mineral exploration, processing, marketing and mine development.

The Kenyan mining industry offers considerable growth potential with its abundant gold, copper, ilmenite, tantalum and other minerals.

One of the crucial objectives of the agreement is to explore opportunities for technology transfer in Kenya’s mineral sector.

Technology transfer provides developing countries with access to knowledge, research and expertise from around the world.

“We are laying down the foundation for a future where sustainable mining practices, innovation, and responsible stewardship form the pillars of our mutual growth,” said Mohamed Alsuwaidi, UAE minister of investment.

Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ has also signed a finance framework agreement with Kenya to enable investments in priority sectors of its economy.

While neighbouring Saudi Arabia believes it has untapped mineral wealth of up to $2.5 trillion, based on exploration of 30 percent of the country’s mineral region, the UAE is looking overseas to boost its reserves.

In March Abu Dhabi’s International Resources Holdings (IRH) completed its acquisition of Mopani Copper Mines in Zambia and is reported to be interested in acquiring more of the African country’s minerals industry.

IRH is part of International Holding Company, Abu Dhabi’s most valuable company. Previous reports said IRH would invest $1.1 billion through the deal in return for a 51 percent stake in Mopani Copper Mines.

The UAE’s increased interest in African investments could benefit the Kenyan economy by up to $500 million, the UAE Ministry of Investment said on Wednesday.

With a GDP contribution of more than 40 percent, Kenya is a major economy in East Africa and one of the UAE’s first African partners in bilateral trade talks

A comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Cepa) between the two countries was signed earlier this year

The agreement allows the trading partners to benefit from mutual opportunities in food production, mining, technology and logistics.

In 2023, non-oil trade between the UAE and Kenya rose by 26.4 percent year on year to $3.1 billion.

UAE-Kenya trade highlights

  • The UAE and Kenya Cepa deal will help accelerate investment in logistics, healthcare, travel and tourism and infrastructure.
  • Abu Dhabi’s G42 is developing a data centre in Kenya powered by geothermal energy which will have an initial capacity of 100 megawatts, with the potential to build up to one-gigawatt.
  • The UAE’s investment ministry is building a data centre in Kenya with a total capacity of up to 1,000 megawatts to promote a digital corridor with the East African nation. 

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