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UAE, Kenya sign Investment Memorandum to advance digital infrastructure and AI initiatives

UAE

The Ministry of Investment of the UAE and the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Digital Economy of the Republic of Kenya have signed an Investment Memorandum establishing a framework for investment cooperation in the field of digitalization and technology.

In addition to exploring investments in digital infrastructure and artificial intelligence (AI) services in Kenya, the cooperation may include the development of data centre projects with a total capacity of up to 1,000 megawatts. In the field of AI, the technical and investment potential of developing Large Language Models will be assessed.

The Investment Memorandum was signed by His Excellency Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi, Minister of Investment of the UAE, and His Excellency Eliud Owalo, Cabinet Secretary at the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Digital Economy in Kenya.

Kenya has witnessed significant growth in its digital economy, primarily driven by the ICT sector, which has outperformed all other sectors, expanding by 23 percent annually during the last decade. As the largest economy in East Africa, Kenya is also becoming a preferred investment destination for data centre providers, with the growing demand for cloud services prompted by improved business conditions and new market entrants, as well as the migration of many businesses to digital solutions. There are currently several operational data centres in the country, and the local data centre market is expected to witness a compound annual growth rate of 11.22 percent between 2023 and 2028.

The Memorandum focuses on facilitating strong and effective relationships between public and private sector organisations in the two countries to enable cooperation in digital infrastructure projects. It additionally proposes the implementation of incentives to support pertinent initiatives.

The “digital corridor” concept is integral to this Memorandum, representing an interconnected network infrastructure enabling secure data exchange, hosting, processing, and transmission between the UAE and Kenya.

His Excellency Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi, Minister of Investment of the UAE, said: “A closer partnership between our two nations harbours remarkable opportunities in numerous fields that can contribute to the continued strengthening and advancement of our economies. Through targeted investments in digital infrastructure and artificial intelligence, this Investment Memorandum is set to accelerate the development of a sector that has the potential to become a growth driver for other industries, setting out a vision for the future defined by prosperity and progress.”

His Excellency Eliud Owalo, said: “Collaboration between Kenya and the UAE goes beyond strategy; it is poised to strengthen the bonds between our two nations. With the potential to bridge the digital divide in Africa, expedite technological innovation, and foster a sustainable future for the ICT industry, this partnership will pave the way for a more inclusive and interconnected digital world.”

The Memorandum was signed on the heels of the UAE and Kenya finalising a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), marking a milestone as the first CEPA between the two countries, deepening investment ties and boosting bilateral non-oil trade, which reached USD 3.1 billion in 2023, up 26.4 percent on 2022.

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