By Samuel Ouma
President Uhuru Kenyatta will on Tuesday evening begin a three-day working visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), focused on strengthening trade ties between Kenya and the Gulf state.
Briefing the press in Dubai ahead of the President’s arrival, Kenya’s Ambassador to the UAE Kariuki Mugwe indicated that gracing a high-level business forum, presiding over the Kenya national day at the Expo 2020 Dubai and bilateral talks with the UAE leadership will crown the President Kenyatta’s visit to the Gulf state.
Ambassador Mugwe said on Tuesday President Kenyatta will officially open the high-level Kenya-UAE business forum and later have bilateral engagements with the UAE leadership.
“The purpose of the President coming here is to showcase business and investment opportunities that are available in Kenya. And there are quite a number of them mostly in the investment areas.
“Those opportunities need to be made known not only to the UAE investors but also other investors in the world, we have actually invited a number of them among the 192 countries participating in the Expo 2020 Dubai,” Amb. Mugwe said.
The Ambassador expressed optimism that the President’s visit will help bridge the huge trade imbalance which is currently tilted in favour of the UAE.
He added that President Kenyatta will be accompanied by representatives of the Kenya business community with trade interests in the UAE and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region in general.
The GCC, a political and economic union of Arab states bordering the Gulf, was established in 1981 and its six members are UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain.
“It is expected that the Kenyan business representatives will engage and strike business deals with their UAE counterparts and other participating countries,” the Ambassador said.
Amb. Mugwe said the visit also provides an opportunity for Kenya and the UAE to enhance their bilateral relations which are founded on shared historical ties.
“Our two countries cooperate in many areas of mutual interests both at the bilateral and multilateral levels. It is expected that there will be investment opportunities that will be secured by the engagements that will be undertaken while His Excellency the President is in the UAE,” the Ambassador said.
On his part, the Consul General of Kenya to Dubai and the Northern Emirates Amb. Peter Mwendwa thanked President Kenyatta for agreeing to grace the Kenya national day at the Expo 2020 Dubai on 16th February.
“We feel very happy and privileged that our national leadership is leading from the front in terms of ensuring Kenya remains visible at the global arena. We are sure that this will bring us a lot of gains in terms of boosting our country’s economy,” Amb. Mwendwa said.
At the Kenyan stand at the Expo 2020, Amb. Mwendwa said Kenya has been showcasing what it has to offer in terms of investment opportunities in the manufacturing, agriculture and tourism sectors.
“This is definitely going to be a game-changer due to our proximity to the huge market of the Middle East. You are talking about, if we take the example of horticultural products, a market of over $ 2.6 billion. You can imagine what that will do to our economy if we can get just a small chunk of that,” Amb. Mwendwa said.
The Ambassador termed Kenya’s participation at the Expo 2020 as part of the country’s post-Covid recovery strategy because it comes at a time when more visibility is required in terms of creating investment opportunities in the country.