The business session of the Kenya – Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States High Level Business Forum took place on the 15th February,2022 at the Raffles Hotel in Dubai, marking the 2nd day of the ongoing Kenya Week at the Expo Dubai 2020. The forum was graced by H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta and was attended by business delegates and government officials from Kenya and the GCC.
The event entailed presentation and discussions of the current opportunities and investment possibilities available in Kenya and the GCC, there was also a Business to Business (B2B) session for the business delegates.
KNCCI President Mr. Richard Ngatia, being one of the speakers during the business forum highlighted that Kenya is an important gateway into the African market through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). In his presentation, he urged the GCC countries to look no further than Kenya for favourable investment returns.
The AfCFTA will connect 1.3 billion people across Africa with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at $3.4 trillion. “With the implementation of AfCFTA, there lies the potential for formulating trade agreements to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers between the two blocs. There is an opportunity for GCC states to support the industrial capacity required for the AfCFTA implementation.” said Mr. Ngatia. He alluded to Kenya’s membership in regional blocs such as EAC, COMESA and IGAD as important in accessing the regional market.
The port of Mombasa serves as an important logistic hub for the entire region, including the landlocked countries of Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi. Completion of the LAPSSET corridor project is expected to improve transport and logistics between Kenya, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda, and enhance trade between the GCC and Eastern Africa. Highly sought minerals such as copper and cobalt are readily available in DRC which the GCC can access through the Kenyan gateway.
Kenya welcomes investors in key sectors such as agriculture, energy, ICT, healthcare, blue economy and services.
Citing the existing partnerships between KNCCI, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry
and Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Ngatia guaranteed the business community of trade support and export facilitation as they prepare to venture into Kenya and the GCC countries respectively.
The business deliberations and recommendations were presented to H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta. His Excellency assured the GCC of a favourable business climate in Kenya to enable their investors penetrate the African market. He lauded the Kenya Week as a great opportunity to sell the Kenyan brand and prepare the country for new trade opportunities.