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Kenya Seeks UAE Investment in Agribusiness and Real Estate Sectors


The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) has set its sights on drawing investors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to engage in the country’s expanding agribusiness and real estate sectors.


Speaking at the UAE-East Africa Trade Forum 2023 in Nairobi, the chairperson of the Economic Diplomacy Committee at KNCCI Ronald Meru, emphasized Kenya’s potential as a significant producer of cash crops, including tea, coffee, and flowers, which are predominantly exported as unprocessed or semi-processed commodities.

Kenya seeks UAE investment
KNCCI Economic Diplomacy Committee Chairperson Ronald Meru [Photo/Courtesy]

Meru extended a warm invitation to UAE investors, urging them to contribute value to Kenya’s agricultural products, thereby enabling the nation to capitalize on increased foreign exchange earnings. The trade forum brought together 30 businesses from Sharjah, UAE, fostering connections with local traders and investors in the East African region.

“We welcome UAE investors to add value to our agricultural products so that Kenya can benefit from more foreign exchange earnings,” Meru said.

Highlighting Kenya’s growing urban landscape and its pivotal role in the nation’s growth trajectory, Meru pointed out the country’s openness to welcoming UAE investors into the real estate and infrastructure sector, citing the sector’s promising returns as per a report by People Daily.

According to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), Kenya’s export value to the UAE stood at Ksh44 billion (US dollars 291 million) in 2022, while imports from the Gulf nation totaled US dollars 2.69 billion (Ksh407.4 billion) during the same period.

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The United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Kenya Salem Ibrahim Al Naqbi , expressed optimism about the potential for expanded trade and investment between the two countries. Al Naqbi emphasized the abundance of export and import opportunities, with a particular focus on leveraging modern technology to bolster Kenya’s agro-processing sector. He also highlighted the prospects stemming from Kenya’s rapid urbanization, presenting alluring investment prospects in the infrastructure and real estate domains.

Earlier this year, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) solidified its position as a prominent trading partner for Kenya, emerging as the second-largest import source after China, consequently ending India’s longstanding dominance.

This trend has been accompanied by heightened trading activities between Kenya and the Middle East, which now constitute 24.6 percent of the total value of imports into the country. The value of imports from the UAE surged to Ksh407 billion from Ksh178.5 billion in 2021, representing an impressive 128.2 percent growth.

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“The value of imports from UAE more than doubled due to the increased importation of gas oil, motor spirit premium, kerosene type jet fuel, and residual fuel oils,” KNBS revealed.


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