The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), the country’s trade lobby, said Monday that it is seeking to attract investors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) into the country’s agribusiness and real estate sectors.
Ronald Meru, the chairperson of the Economic Diplomacy Committee at the KNCCI, told a trade forum in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi that the country is a large producer of cash crops such as tea, coffee, and flowers that are often exported as unprocessed or semi-processed commodities.
“We welcome UAE investors to add value to our agricultural products so that Kenya can benefit from more foreign exchange earnings,” Meru said during the UAE-East Africa Trade Forum 2023.
The event brought together 30 businesses from Sharjah in the UAE to explore opportunities in the East African region through linking with local traders and investors.
Meru added that Kenya is also keen to attract UAE investors into the real estate and infrastructure sector because the country’s expanding cities provide lucrative returns and are also key to the nation’s growth strategy.
Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicate that Kenya exported goods worth 44 billion shillings (about 291 million U.S. dollars) to the UAE in 2022 while it imported goods worth 2.69 billion dollars in the same period from the Gulf nation.
United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Kenya Salem Ibrahim Al Naqbi said that the forum would be ideal for widening trade and investment between the two countries with a wide range of opportunities to tap into through exports and imports.
Al Naqbi revealed that investors from his country are keen to leverage on modern technology to expand Kenya’s agro-processing sector. He added that Kenya’s rapid urbanization offers opportunities for investors in the infrastructure and real estate sectors.