Connecting Kenyan businesses to the UAE and Gulf market

The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KNCCI) in collaboration with Sharjah Exports Development Centre (SEDC) which is the export promotion agency of Sharjah (an initiative of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI)today hosted the UAE- East Africa Trade mission 2022 at Villa Rosa Kempinski, Nairobi.

The main aim of the trade mission was to enhance bilateral ties between Kenya and the United Arab Emirates. The mission comprised of Business-to-business meetings between companies and individuals from both countries.

The Chamber President Mr. Richard Ngatia in his opening remarks appreciated the cordial partnership between KNCCI and SCCI which has seen KNCCI get accorded an office space in Sharjah. The office will be a one- stop center for traders from Kenya and UAE to be acquainted with information on the investment outlook, trade processes, standards and procedures applicable in the two countries. The space will greatly facilitate B2Bs and encompass a conference hall for business forums.

In his remarks he stated that as the private sector, we look forward to the conclusion of the ongoing discussions on the United Arab Emirates-Kenya Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement ( UAEK-CEPA) as it will ease trade barriers.

The Chamber President emphasized on the opportunity for UAE investors to support the industrial capacity required for the AfCFTA implementation. Kenya invites investors in manufacturing plants and infrastructure development through PPPs in order to expand Kenya’s industrial capacity for international trade.

He concluded by saying that the business forum presents an opportunity for the two chambers to build synergies and support both governments in creating an enabling trade environment between the two countries.

SCCI Chairman , H.E Abdullah Sultan Al- Owais in his remarks stated that he was delighted to be part of the business forum and was hoping that the forum will be beneficial for both UAE and Kenya traders and will also act to bridge the trade gap between the two countries.

The Chief Guest being the Cabinet Secretary Hon. Simon Chelagui Ministry of Cooperatives and MSMEs in his remarks stated that Kenya is a promising place to do business with growing markets and opportunities. Kenya has proven to be an effective paradigm for successful cooperation among economies at different stages of economic development.

He stated that despite the commendable contribution by MSMEs to the country’s economy, there are a number of challenges accessing regional and international market. As recognized in the UAE Small and Medium Enterprises ( SMEs) are vital for the economic diversification and growth because they help in building national human resources.

He concluded by appreciating the good working relationship between KNCCI and SCCI.MSMEs shall leverage on the partnership to strengthen business growth.

Representing the Cabinet Secretary , Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment Mr. Oliver Konje , Director International Trade expressed his gratitude to be part of the UAE- East Africa Trade Mission, an important platform to discuss and explore opportunities of boosting business exchanges and investment between the two countries.

He acknowledged the warm and cordial relations that exist between the two countries as evidenced by continued cooperation and partnership on issues of mutual interest.

He concluded by encouraging the business associations and councils to work together to enhance business engagements between the private sector in both countries.

Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) Ag. Managing Director Ms. Olivia Rachier in her remarks stated that the business forum was timely coming after a long period of Covid -19 pandemic and the world is starting to reopen for international travel.

She observed that trade and investment between the two countries was highly in favor of UAE. Kenya’s trade with UAE has been increasing over the 2021, the value of Kenya’ imports from UAE was approximately USD 1.83 billion while Kenyan exports to UAE were valued about USD 315 million. She noted that this is one of the gaps that the forum should try to bridge by creating more business opportunities.

She concluded by stating that Kenya has a good business environment and it is much easier to set up and do business here and now than ever before.

The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry appreciates the organizers of the forum, participants and all members present. KNCCI urges all members to take advantage of the numerous opportunities to bridge the trade gap between the two countries.

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