UK's international trade minister Ranil Jayawardena and Kenya’s cabinet secretary for trade, Betty Maina, signed the deal in London on 8 December. Photo CityAM

 

The recently signed trade deal between the UK and Kenya will be extended to Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Tanzania, according to multiple media reports in Kenya.

The announcement follows weeks of threats by members of the House of Lords as well as Kenyan MPs not to ratify the trade agreement, which was signed in December of last year.

According to a report in regional newspaper The East African this weekend, the Economic Partnership Agreement agreed between the UK and Kenya will be open to all EAC member states.

This means that businesses from Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Tanzania can export and offer their products into the UK on a no-tariff, no-quota basis, once the deal has been ratified.

Breakthrough after threats

This weekend’s ‘breakthrough’ – as several newspapers in East-Africa called the extension of the deal – followed weeks of threats on both sides of the Sahara not to ratify the deal.

In London, the House of Lords said two weeks ago it would need more time to ratify the agreement amid concerns the UK government had not addressed the potential impact of the pact on regional cohesion in the East Africa region.

The House of Lords accepted a proposal by its International Agreements Committee to postpone ratification by 21 days.

Meanwhile, a majority of MPs in Nairobi, Kenya, said late last week that they refused to ratify the economic partnership with the UK as they accused the government of “sneaking in documents that had not been tabled in [the Kenyan] Parliament,” according to newspaper Business Daily Africa this weekend.

The lawmakers reportedly said that, until they are fully aware of the details of the trade arrangements, the agreement cannot come into force.

Their main concern evolved around goods exported from the UK to Kenya, saying the types of products that would fall under an agreed clause – that some goods can be shipped into Kenya duty-free for a period of 25 years – had not been specified.

While it remains unclear that these issues have been fully addressed, cabinet secretary Betty Maina told The EastAfrican newspaper that “the UK is providing Kenya and all its EAC neighbours a secure, long-term and predictable basis for deepening their access to the UK market.”

UK-Kenyan trade deal

The UK-Kenyan Economic Partnership Agreement was signed in London on 8 December by UK’s international trade minister Ranil Jayawardena and Kenya’s cabinet secretary for trade, Betty Maina.

The deal provides Kenyan businesses duty-free access to the UK market, aimed at supporting jobs and economic development in Kenya, as well as to avoid disruption to UK businesses as they maintain tariff-free supply routes for Kenya’s high-quality flowers.

The UK is a major market for British and Kenyan exporters of tea, coffee, flowers and fresh vegetables.

According to UK government data, the biggest import to the UK from Kenya in 2019 were, coffee and spices, with a market value of around £121m, vegetables at £79m as well as live trees and plants, mostly flowers, for around £54m.

The UK market accounts for 43 per cent of total exports of vegetables from Kenya as well as at least 9 per cent of its cut flowers. In 2019, UK-Kenya trade was worth an estimated £1.4bn. - Michiel Willems, CityAM

HALCON, a regional leader in the production and supply of precision-guided weapons, today unveiled SkyKnight - the first UAE designed and manufactured counter-rocket, artillery, and mortar (C-RAM) missile system, at the International Defence and Exhibition Conference (IDEX) 2021.

EDGE, the parent company of HALCON, has been developing a short-range air defence system, as has Germany-based Rheinmetall AG, which was actively seeking a missile system to form part of its Skynex air defence system. The companies decided to jointly offer a solution, with HALCON providing SkyKnight, the missile system to the highly regarded Oerlikon Skynex Air Defence System, which sets new standards with its unique open architecture.

HALCON’s SkyKnight was purposely designed to counter the full spectrum of modern threats, providing early warning signals and precise surface-to-air intercept capabilities targeting of rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) rockets, artillery, mortar, and other fixed-wing aircraft at a range of up to 10Km.

Commenting on this landmark international elevation of a UAE-manufactured missile, H.E. Faisal Al Bannai, EDGE Group CEO and Managing Director said: “SkyKnight is the UAE’s first, but will not be the last air defence missile developed by HALCON. We are pleased to team up with Rheinmetall, a leading player in the defence industry, for us to jointly offer the world’s most advanced and comprehensive C-RAM solution leveraging our SkyKnight missile and Rheinmetall’s Skynex solution. This collaboration is a clear message that EDGE is open to teaming up with various players to offer joint advance solutions.”

The Oerlikon Skynex air defence system comprises the Oerlikon Skynex control node, multi-sensor units (MSU) featuring active electronically scanned multi-mode radars (AMMR), multiple 35mm revolver guns RG Mk3 and HALCON’s SkyKnight C-RAM missiles and missile launchers, each of which has a capacity of 60 missiles. HALCON’s C-RAM missile is capable of tracking and neutralising numerous, multi-directional incoming targets at one time, providing protection for static assets, as well as for mobile and mechanised forces. Transportable and mobile, the system can be deployed fixed on land, sea and moving land platform.

Rheinmetall AG, through its Swiss subsidiary, Rheinmetall Air Defence, has deployed the Skyguard system in numerous countries, which can bring down fast, small targets, and is used as the inner tier of layered air defence of vital points and critical military infrastructure. Countries that have rolled out Skyguard systems will ultimately upgrade to Skynex, placing HALCON, its SkyKnight C-RAM missile system, and the UAE at the forefront of air defence system innovation. 

HALCON is part of the Missiles & Weapons cluster within EDGE, an advanced technology group for defence that ranks among the top 25 military suppliers in the world. AetosWire

 

 

  • Investment of USD 3 billion in tourism infrastructure and attractions to create a world-class mountain destination, in the Asir region.
  • Planned developments include 2,700 hotel rooms, 1,300 residential units, and 30 unique commercial and entertainment attractions by 2030.
  • The company aims to attract over 2 million visitors annually and create 8,000 direct and indirect permanent jobs by 2030.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, (AETOSWire): His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), has announced the launch of Soudah Development Company (SDC) in the Asir region in Saudi Arabia.

The new entity, fully owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), will lead the development of a luxury mountain destination with immersive cultural experiences and celebration of the natural assets empowering the local and national economies.

Launched to be a key driver of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 ambitions, SDC will infuse USD 3 billion into infrastructure and tourism projects, aimed at enhancing the visitor experience in Soudah and parts of Rijal Alma'a Governorate in the Asir region of Saudi Arabia. The planned developments include 2,700 hotel rooms, 1,300 residential units, and 30 unique commercial and entertainment attractions.

SDC aims to develop the project area into a repeat, year-long sustainable destination for residents and visitors that will contribute an estimate of USD 8 billion to the Kingdom’s cumulative GDP by 2030. SDC intends to partner with the local community and investors to build a robust and diverse network of offerings across the hospitality, residential, commercial and entertainment sectors. It aims to attract over 2 million visitors annually and create 8,000 direct and indirect permanent jobs by 2030.

HE Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan, Governor for the Public Investment Fund, said: “Our investment in the Asir region reflects our confidence in the character of the location, which is a rich amalgamation of identity, heritage and experience. Through careful and considerate development, (SDC) will provide yet another remarkable destination in the diverse and growing portfolio of Saudi Arabia’s experiences capturing the imagination of a broad range of investors and travelers.”

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) will inject at least USD 40 billion a year into the local economy and aims to grow assets under management to over USD 2 trillion by 2030. The destination adds another dimension to Saudi Arabia’s ambitious tourism goals and complements destinations being created on the Red Sea coast and around the capital city of Riyadh.

SDC aims to create a roadmap to transform the region’s vast public areas to highlight the region’s distinct culture, geography and its verdant nature. Preserving the environmental integrity of the destination will be a priority and the development will follow a rigorous regulatory framework and urban planning code. AETOSWire

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