President Mwai Kibaki on Saturday said Kenya remained an attractive investment destination, which acted as the hub of economic activities for both the East African Community as well as the Great Lakes Regions.
The President who held discussions with visiting United Arab Emirates Minister for Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan at State House Nairobi pointed out that Kenya was endowed with not only conducive environmental conditions but also enjoyed highly skilled and competitive labour-force, which could sustain any forms of investments.
According to the Presidential Press Service (PPS), Kibaki said Kenyan professionals were efficiently working in various parts of the globe as testified by an estimated population of 10,000 of them working in UAE presently.
Saying that Kenya was keen on partnering with UAE to improve the living standards of citizens of the two countries, Kibaki noted that key sectors of collaboration between the countries included agriculture, infrastructure, transport, the hotel and the service industry in general.
On his part Sheikh Nahyan expressed the keenness by the UAE government to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and was seeking Kenya’s support in their quest to achieve the objective.
The visiting minister said that the two governments were equally keen on entering into a bilateral agreement on encouraging and protecting investments.
Other areas of collaboration aimed at cementing the existing cordial relations and the mutual interests between the two countries include eased issuance of work permits to enable more Kenyans to gain employment in UAE.
UAE for a long period has supported various humanitarian and development projects in Kenya extended through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Economic Development (ADFED) particularly in famine relief and support for free operations for heart patients.
With regard to education the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation supports Sheikh Zayed children’s orphanage and Sheikh Khalifa Secondary School in Mombasa.
The Zayed Foundation is currently drilling boreholes in different parts of North Eastern Kenya at an estimated cost of US$ 1.2 million while a loan agreement of US$10 million has been signed for the construction of Nuno-Modagashe road.
Those in attendance included the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula.
The visiting minister on his part was accompanied by UAE ambassador to Khartoum Essa Abdulla Al Basha Al Noaimi and senior officials of UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.