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Abu Dhabi , November 21, 2011
and UAE negotiate agreements to boost trade relations
Kenya and the United Arab Emirates today signed the agreement on the prevention of avoidance of double taxation and made great strides towards the finalization of the agreements on Customs Administrative Support and the Promotion and protection of Investments.
This was in the wake of the realization and appreciation of the continued rapid growth of bilateral and trade relations between the two countries.
In a statement during a meeting with members of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry at his hotel of residence in Abu Dhabi, President Mwai Kibaki confirmed that presently Kenyas largest source of imports is the United Arab Emirates.
The President appreciated further that on the other hand, Kenyas exports to the United Arab Emirates had increased by over 1000 per cent in the last twenty years thus signaling a healthy improvement in trade relations between the two countries.
He cautioned, However, there is room for further improvements. As both countries strive for further improvements, I am certain that the business community will work towards complimenting the efforts of both Governments.
During the occasion the Head of State assured that his government had for last ten years concentrated on creating a conducive investment climate thus making Kenya one of the leading investment destinations of choice.
In this regard, President Kibaki affirmed that there existed lucrative investment opportunities in the country especially the promotion and encouragement of the private sector participation in infrastructure development and management.
He said, Indeed, my Government has just approved a policy and statutory institutional Framework for Coordinating and Managing Public Private Sector Partnerships which opens an important window of opportunity for investors.
In the ICT sector, the Head of State assured that Kenya had so far installed three strategic linkages through undersea fibre optic cables, including one through the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.
He remarked, We have recorded a substantial increase in business opportunities since the landing of the fibre optic cables, and we encourage the business community here to consider utilizing some of our local companies for business process outsourcing jobs.
The government, said the President, was also encouraging closing working relations with the private sector in increasing investments in renewable energy, an area he termed as of vital importance to Kenyas economy.
He said, We appreciate the need for sustained investment in energy. Your cooperation in this area will help us safeguard jobs as well as your investments.
President Kibaki in addition reiterated that Kenya was strategically placed as an entry point to the East African Community one of present days most advanced economic communities in Africa and integrated to the level of a full customs union and common market.
Said the President, It has a population of more than 130 million people, and enjoys a combined Gross Domestic Product of 74.5 billion US Dollars.
Kenya, the President informed the gathering, also serves as a gateway to the rest of Eastern and Central African region comprising Northern Zambia, South Sudan, Central Africa Republic and the eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In this regard, President Kibaki declared, that this reality provided a rich hinterland with enormous business and investment opportunities, particularly in the development of regional connectivity including rail, air, road and waterway corridors.
It is worth while noting that the countries in the region are working together on mechanisms to fast-track the implementation of priority infrastructure development programmes, advised the President.
He, however, underscored that such programmes could only be achieved with adequate resources which the government sought to identify and mobilize in partnership with the private sector and other sources like the Abu Dhabi investors whom he invited to consider.
He informed the businessmen that the country planned to hold an investment conference in the United Arab Emirates in the near future in which further details on the breadth of investment opportunities in Kenya will be provided.
The President urged, I invite the Chairman and Members of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry to attend the conference. We stand ready at all times to facilitate trade enquiries, product promotion fairs as well as investment forums. We also welcome proposals on how we can further improve the current level of support to the private sector, including how to deepen links with the multilateral trading system.
The Head of State expressed confidence that the interactions during the forum would further deepen the existing and close ties between Kenya and the United Arab Emirates.
The President of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce Mr Mohamed Thani Al Rumaithi termed the forum as important and one that would greatly boost investment and economic relations between the two nations.
Others who addressed the forum included Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Uhuru Kenyatta, Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi and Tourism Minister Najib Balala.
In attendance were Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula, Labour Minister John Munyes, Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang, Central Bank Governor Prof Njuguna Ndungu, legislators Adan Keynan, Jeremiah Kioni and other senior government officials.
©2011 State House, Nairobi Kenya