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HomePoliticsRwanda UAE Bilateral Trade Surpassed 1.1 Billion in 2023

Rwanda UAE Bilateral Trade Surpassed 1.1 Billion in 2023

More than two dozen Rwandan companies now operate businesses in Dubai, particularly in the logistics sector, and Ambassador John Mirenge says Rwanda has big plans to ramp up bilateral trade across all sectors of industry.

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More than two dozen Rwandan companies now operate businesses in Dubai, particularly in the logistics sector, and Ambassador John Mirenge says Rwanda has big plans to ramp up bilateral across all sectors of industry.

Byline Binsal Abdulkader

As Rwanda-UAE bilateral trade hits a new milestone that reflects the growth in overall relations, Rwanda Ambassador John Mirenge says the country wants to expand ties to new and advanced sectors such as the fourth industrial revolution.

“Rwanda and the UAE enjoy excellent bilateral relations and the UAE is Rwanda’s leading trade partner,” says Mirenge.

According to the UAE Ministry of Economy, Rwanda-UAE bilateral trade crossed USD1.1 billion mark in 2023.

Mirenge says that exports from Rwanda to the UAE include a range of products, mainly horticulture. Currently, Rwanda exports approximately 60 tonnes of horticultural products to the UAE weekly, a volume expected to increase. Notable partnerships with major retailers in the UAE further contribute to the growth of horticultural exports to the UAE and other Gulf countries, he said.

He noted that 26 Rwandan companies have registered and operate businesses in Dubai, particularly in the logistics sector.

“We want those who have started their businesses to grow and others to come and take advantage of business opportunities across all of the UAE,” says Mirenge.

This includes e-commerce, with over 100 Rwandan companies actively trading on the Dubuy.com platform, featuring popular products such as coffee and tea, key commodities in the UAE and other GCC countries. Dubuy.com is DP World’s digital platform providing a B2B e-marketplace with end-to-end supply chain solutions.

According to Mirenge, in the logistics sector, DP World’s inland port in Kigali and regular RwandAir Kigali-Dubai flights provide flexible maritime and air transport means. DP World is currently expanding its facilities in Kigali.

RwandAir, Rwanda’s flagship carrier, has expanded its operations between both countries, introducing freighter services with dedicated cargo aircraft. Currently operating three flights a week between Sharjah and Kigali, they mainly carry agricultural products from Kigali and return with the general cargo, mostly electronics.

In addition, the trial reefer container shipment of Hass avocados by sea, initiated in December 2022, is set to continue, providing an alternative means to air freight, says Mirenge.

On the investments front, Mirenge says that between 2000 and 2023, 14 UAE companies registered their businesses in Rwanda with investment commitments valued at over USD 320 million in sectors such as logistics, hospitality, mineral processing, manufacturing, road safety, transportation and agriculture.

“Rwanda has an investment-friendly landscape, and we encourage more UAE companies to explore it. There are opportunities for growth in areas such as hospitality, health, education, information and communications technology, innovation, government experience exchange, and multilateral fora,” says Mirenge.

He also emphasised that collaborative efforts between the UAE Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution, Rwanda Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and Space Agencies of both countries are crucial for cooperation in advancing Rwanda’s tech sectors.

“Sustainable environment collaboration, focusing on urbanisation, renewable energy, and green growth, aligns with both nations’ ambitions too,” says Mirenge.

Lastly, Mirenge says that scholarships offered by the UAE Government have enabled Rwandan students to study at universities in the UAE and find jobs in the UAE-based companies.

“Sports is also a sector full of opportunities. Rwanda’s participation in the recently held Tour of Sharjah cycling race has opened a potential new avenue for collaboration in sports too,” says Mirenge.

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