Amb. Dr. Amina C. Mohamed during the Country Focus Briefing on Kenya
Amb. Dr. Amina C. Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Republic of Kenya, called upon UAE businesses to venture into the Kenyan market and benefit from the existing and unfolding opportunities offered by the country to foreign investors.
The Kenya Government is actively seeking to partner with investors from the Gulf region by providing an array of investor-friendly options in major infrastructure development projects including LAPSSET, the Kshs. 2 trillion transport corridor linking Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia as well as the energy sector. There are many other opportunities especially in agro-processing, tourism, ICT, healthcare, and oil and gas, said Amb. Amina.
“Kenya offers a macro-economic environment supported by a modern financial sector, a vibrant stock market and a strong Private Public Partnership policy framework to facilitate engagement with the private sector,” she said, adding that the Government has also established the Kenya Investment Authority which is a one–stop-shop for assisting foreign investors.
Amb. Amina Mohamed added that Dubai businesses are world leaders in sectors as diverse as financial services, communications, infrastructure and energy and have the experience and expertise to undertake major development projects needed in Kenya.
Amb. Amina further stressed that Kenya, which Fortune magazine ranked the 7th most attractive places to do business among emerging markets, achieved lower middle income status after the rebasing of real GDP figures in 2012 with a GDP of $55.2 billion and is now the 9th largest African economy, commercial, and logistical hub of the East and Central African region.
“The Kenyan economy has been performing well and expanded by 5.5% during the third quarter of 2014. Medium term prospects are stronger and the economy is projected to grow by 6.4% in 2015 and 6.6% in 2016,” she said.
The Kenyan Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, was speaking at the Country Focus Briefing: The Republic of Kenya, held in cooperation with the Embassy of Kenya at the Chamber head office recently.
The briefing was attended by H.E. Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, H.E. Hamad Buamim, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber, and over 100 representatives of UAE and Kenyan companies.
In his welcome address, H.E. Buamim highlighted trade as a strong sector for future growth between Dubai and Kenya, which he said is now the 5th largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa and offers an attractive combination of growing economic groundwork and a vibrant market economy.
“Over the past few years Dubai-Kenya trade has increased significantly as the non-oil trade between the two sides was AED 4.5 billion in 2013 while Kenya was Dubai’s 50th largest trade partner globally and third largest trade partner in Africa in 2014. Presently, there are 242 Kenyan companies registered with Dubai Chamber. Still, we would like to see these figures increase in line with our efforts to enhance business ties with the country.
”Aligning the needs of Dubai and Kenya and through increased cooperation, we can positively impact two-way trade and investment between the two countries,” said H.E. Buamim.
“Kenya’s strategic location and well-developed business infrastructure makes it a natural choice for Dubai investors as opportunities exist for investment in infrastructure, agriculture, tourism, ICT, power and energy and ports, rail and roads as these are areas where Dubai companies have extensive experience,” he added.
H.E. Buamim further added that Dubai is a gateway to the regional markets and can play a major role in Kenyan investment flows to the region while providing world-class logistical and infrastructural facilities to promote Africa’s trade with the world through Dubai as he affirmed the Chamber’s commitment to businesses in the two countries to establish strong bilateral partnerships in the long run.
Dubai’s diversified economy based on its strong economic pillars of trade, tourism, logistics and financial services offer strong investment potential to foreign investors, especially those from Kenya and the overall African Continent who want to set up base in the emirate and trade with the rest of the world, he said.
The President and CEO of Dubai Chamber informed that the Chamber has been working to build stronger ties with Kenya for a number of years. “Each year we organise the Africa Global Business Forum in Dubai to highlight the emirate’s role as a gateway into and out of the continent. Kenya’s business and political elite has participated and supported this conference and we hope to have their engagement for this year’s event in November,” he said.
Also speaking during the event were H.E. Kariuki Mugwe, Consul General of Kenya, Kiprono Kittony, National Chairman, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ms. Pat Thaker, Director - ME & Africa, The Economist Intelligence Unit, Dr. Moses Ikiara, Managing Director, Kenya Investment Authority, Prof. Wainaina Gituro, Director General, Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat, and Silvester Kasuku, Director General, LAPSSET Corridor Development Authority.
On his part, H.E. Mugwe welcomed potential UAE investors to Kenya stating that the Kenyan government has launched numerous development projects for economic growth in the country which offer lucrative investment opportunities for UAE investors as he urged the UAE Government to extend all possible support to Kenyan businesses in the country.
In his presentation on Ease of Doing Business and Trading Opportunities in Kenya, Dr Moses Ikiara informed that Kenya has a low risk investment environment while the country has launched the Vision 2030 development programme for overall economic growth. The country’s strategic geographic location makes it ideal for joint partnerships while offering wide access to regional economic blocks of EAC & COMESA regional markets with an investor-friendly tax regime.