It is a great relief for the Kenya Business Community as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seeks to increase length of stay for Kenyan visitors to minimum of 6 months duration.
The timely intervention was pursued by the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) being the umbrella body of the Kenya business community. It will be effective from September 2022.
The Chamber President Richard Ngatia held Wednesday a consultative meeting with the UAE Minister for Foreign Trade Dr. Than Ahmed Al Zeyoudi afternoon at a Nairobi hotel to exchange views on strategic partnership to boost economic cooperation between Kenya and the UAE.
This comes ahead of the launch of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement which is anticipated to reduce trade barriers between the two countries.
Appreciating the move, Ngatia remarked that longer visa duration will accord the Kenyan business community ample time to strike trade deals with their UAE counterparts.
The agreement will widen Kenya's market access to the UAE and the Gulf region, with Kenya being a strategic gateway to the rest of Africa through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Sectors of mutual interest include Horticulture, Meat & Livestock, Logistics, Construction, Financial Services, ICT, Insurance and Pension.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are also set to benefit from a UAE program that seeks to invest in Kenyan start-ups.
Early February,UAE woed highly trained Kenyans among them doctors and scientists with a 10-year visa to support the development of its economy.
Through a plan developed in late 2021 that also targeted foreigners globally, the Arab nation set off an ambitious plan that aimed result in a fresh round of brain drain.
The long-term residence visa targeted individuals in science and knowledge, such as doctors and inventors, nurses and healthcare officials and creatives in the fields of culture and art or those in real estate.
For investors, they were required to have a fund inside the UAE valued at Ksh.61.9 million (2 million dirhams) or more.
Entrepreneurs were needed to build a company with capital or partner in an existing firm by giving a contribution of not less than the same amount.
This come even as the United States Embassy in Kenya is set to address visa delay complaints whi h is good for many Kenyans who have been affected by prolonged waiting periods.
A few weeks ago, Kenyan sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala almost failed to take part in World Athletics Championships in the US after his visa delayed.
On Monday, July 25, the US Embassy said it had added staff to help clear a backlog of applications which piled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It could have taken this move earlier since it knows that its visa is in high demand.