The United Arab Emirates has recognised that Africa is fast emerging as one of the most important markets. The Kingdom has been closely looking at the immense potential in the markets which are emerging in Africa and plans to penetrate deeper into the newest markets within the African continent. UAE’s overall trade is the highest with six non-Arab African countries which are Angola, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa and Tanzania.
In recent years Tanzania has emerged as an important and noteworthy trade destination for the UAE. Bilateral trade between the two nations has been rising sharply to over US$870 million compared to US$510 million during the previous period which is a substantial increase by any standards.
The ‘gateway to east Africa’, Kenya has always been an important trade partner for the UAE in the sub Sharan region. Fast gaining recognition as the distribution and business hub of East Africa, the country has been a longtime and fruitful trade partner to the UAE. Trade between Kenya and the UAE has continued to grow – rising to US$570 million from US$500 million in recent times, according to data released by UAE’s Ministry of Finance.
Interestingly, while UAE is one of the leading exporters of goods to several African countries, it also ranks among the top ten importer of goods and commodities for atleast 10 African countries – including Kenya. Global estimates state that the total non-oil trade with Africa is worth US$ 19.1 billion – and this figure is expected to further rise in coming years as the UAE authorities make concerted efforts to further diversify their trade and business interests in the African continent. In particular, the UAE seeks to play a larger role in developing several key sectors in African countries such as tourism, infrastructure, oil, gas, mining, energy, transport, logistics, ports, IT and mobile communications.