Farmers to reap from Kenya and United Arab Emirates pact

Friday, January 17th, 2020 00:00 |
United Arab Emirates. Photo/Courtesy

John Otini

Tea and coffee farmers will be among beneficiaries of a memorandum of understanding signed between Kenya and United Arab Emirates (UAE) today to address the dip in trade between the two nations.

Kenya’s exports to the Arab nation dropped 20 per cent last year. The exports included tea, coffee, spices, mineral fuels, oils and distillation products to the UAE.

UAE is among the top six trading partners with Kenya after Uganda, US, Netherlands and UK. Leading products imported from UAE include petroleum products, electronics and clothes.

Coffee cherries. Photo/Courtesy

Kenya’s relations with UAE had suffered in the last few years starting 2015 when the Arab nation abruptly closed their embassy in Nairobi after Kenya deported three UAE nationals for alleged involvement in terrorism activities.

“The MoU is aimed at boosting trade between Kenya and UAE and advocate for favourable business and investment operating environment to foster foreign direct investment,” said Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The UAE consulate could not immediately respond to Business Hub queries saying the do not have a trade department yet.

The country has just opened a consulate and is working to resume full operations.

Most Kenyans purchase their merchandise, especially electronics and garments in wholesale price in the UAE for resale in the country making a good profit.

However, Kenya’s agricultural output also fell last year due to bad weather. This was, however, cushioned by the strengthening of the UAE Dirham in the last five years. The Dirham has strengthened from Sh23 a Dirham in 2013 to Sh28 a Dirham currently.

Businesspeople also purchase their products online from reliable suppliers in the Arab nation. Trade between Kenya and Dubai has been active for over 40 years.

This is also anticipated to improve the welfare of Kenyans living and working in the UAE. 

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