Dubai – MENA Herald: Turning its focus on East Africa, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry opened its 4th African office in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Tuesday as part of its strategy to strengthen economic ties with the continent and to promote Dubai and its business competitiveness in the African market.

The new office in Kenya, being the fourth in Africa after Ethiopia, Ghana, and Mozambique which was opened earlier in the year, is the sixth Dubai Chamber international office after Azerbaijan and Erbil in Iraq which demonstrate the Chamber’s commitment to reach out to the promising markets of the world, especially Africa, while attracting FDIs to Dubai.

H.E. Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber, while leading a trade mission to Kenya and Ethiopia, opened the new office in the presence of Dubai delegation consisting of senior representatives of the private sector and investors from the UAE. The objective behind the opening of the new office is to promote Dubai as an international business hub and strengthen economic and trade ties with Kenya.

The opening ceremony was followed by a public sector roundtable discussion, meeting between Chamber officials from the two countries, corporate site visit and a networking dinner hosted by the UAE Ambassador to Nairobi at his residence.

In his inaugural address, H.E. Al Ghurair stated that Dubai has historically maintained strong trading ties with Africa, and the continent has served as a key market to expand the emirate’s business activities in recent years under the directives of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to explore the fast-growing economies of the African continent which has become one of the most popular trade and investment destinations in the world.

“Over the past few years Dubai Chamber has fostered many initiatives to strengthen bilateral relations and expand its footprint in the continent by leading trade missions across Africa while establishing satellite offices in the continent to support two-way trade between Dubai businesses and their African counterparts,” said H.E. Al Ghurair, adding that the new office will allow Dubai businesses to pursue trade and investment opportunities in Kenya while serving as a platform for Kenyan businesses to enter Dubai and the wider Middle East region.

“Kenya is considered the economic, commercial and the logistics hub of East Africa. In 2015, Kenya was Africa’s 5th largest economy in terms of GDP in current prices valued at US$ 61.4 billion while the country has the 6th largest market in Africa in terms of population, with total number of 44.1 million persons, during the same year,” said H.E. Al Ghurair.

On his part, H.E. Hamad Buamim, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber, stated that the Chamber is delighted to be opening its newest location in Kenya which supports its strategy set up in 2010 to spearhead many initiatives to solidify trade relations between Dubai and African businesses and to encourage investment between the two regions.

“Kenya is the emirate’s 49th largest trading partner with bilateral trade rising over the last few years to reach $1.1 billion in 2015. At present, Dubai Chamber has 211 Kenyan businesses among its members, and we would like to see that number grow with the support of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce,” said H.E. Buamim.

“Kenya’s fast-growing economy, along with its stable and investor-friendly environment, offers plenty of opportunities for UAE-based business. We see potential for increased collaboration in a number of key sectors, most notably agriculture and agri-business, manufacturing, logistics and tourism which continue to see momentum while offering room for growth as the Kenyan government pushes ahead with infrastructure investment plans,” added H.E. Buamim.

He lauded the support provided by H.E. Abdul Razzak Mohammed Hadi, UAE Ambassador to Nairobi, Kenya, in facilitating the trade mission achieve its objectives while also helping UAE investors overcome the obstacles to their trading activities.

The opening of the new office is the outcome of the series of Global Business Forums on Africa launched by the Chamber in 2012 which brings together key players from various government and private sectors to explore investment opportunities in emerging markets of the world. The fourth session of the Africa Global Business Forums will he held next year in Dubai.

Led by H.E. Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber, the delegation includes H.E. Hamad Buamim, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber, Ali Al Fardan, Managing Director, Al Fardan Group of Companies, H.E. Kariuke Mugwe, Consul General, Consulate General of the Republic of Kenya, Adel Al Zarouni, Managing Director, Rivoli Group LLC, Eisa Bin Nasser Al Serkal, Chairman, Nasser Bin Abdullatif Alserkal Establishment, Mohammed Saeed Al Raqbani, General Manager, Dubai Investments Industries, H.E. Yahya Bin Saeed Lootah, CEO, SS Lootah Group, Lamin Sanneh, Head, Structured Finance, SS Lootah Group, and Mrs. Wifag Mabrouk, Deputy Manager, Lootah Technologies and General Trading.