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UAE and Kenya complete Cepa negotiations

FILE PHOTO: United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani Al Zeyoudi gestures during an interview with Reuters in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, June 30, 2022. REUTERS/Abdel Hadi Ramahi/File Photo Reuters/Abdel Hadi Ramahi
The UAE's minister for foreign trade, Thani Al Zeyoudi, said the deal with Kenya would 'foster innovation and sustainable growth'
  • Kenya Cepa is UAE’s 12th deal
  • Non-oil trade was $3 billion in 2023
  • Kenya’s GDP projected to grow 5%

The UAE and Kenya have completed negotiations on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Cepa) between the two countries.

It is the 12th Cepa deal secured by the UAE and its third in Africa, after agreements were signed last year with Mauritius and the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville).

“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,” said Thani Al Zeyoudi, the UAE minister of foreign trade.

Non-oil trade between the UAE and Kenya reached $3.1 billion in 2023, up 26 percent year on year.

It is hoped the deal will help accelerate investment into areas including logistics, healthcare, travel and tourism, infrastructure, and ICT.

Real GDP growth in Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy, accelerated from 4.8 percent in 2022 to an estimated 5 percent in 2023. It is projected that real GDP will grow between 4.5 percent and 5.2 percent this year.

Rebecca Miano, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for investments, trade and industry, said: “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.”

Bilateral trade talks between the two countries started in 2022 and were among the first launched by the UAE in its efforts to diversify its economy away from a dependence on hydrocarbons.

The UAE has since concluded Cepas with India, Israel, Indonesia, Turkey, Georgia, Cambodia, Colombia, South Korea and Costa Rica, as well as Mauritius and Congo-Brazzaville.

The UAE’s non-oil trade reached a record high of AED3.5 trillion ($953 billion) in 2023. 

Al Zeyoudi said: “We look forward to deepening our relationship with Kenya and to further expanding our presence in Africa as a trusted partner and investor.”

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