Rwanda-UAE Trade Soars Past $1.1 Billion Mark, Signals Deeper Relations

Rwanda-UAE Trade Soars Past $1.1 Billion Mark, Signals Deeper Relations

By Emirates News Agency, 15 March 2024

As Rwanda-UAE bilateral trade has hit a new milestone that reflects the growth in overall relations, Rwanda wants to expand the ties to new and advanced sectors such as fourth industrial revolution, John Mirenge, Ambassador of Rwanda to the UAE, told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).

“Rwanda and the UAE enjoy excellent bilateral relations and the UAE is Rwanda’s leading trade partner,” he stressed in an interview at the Rwandan Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

According to the UAE Ministry of Economy, Rwanda-UAE bilateral trade crossed US$1.1 billion mark in 2023.

The envoy said 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.

Growing Business Ties

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 emirates of the UAE.”

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

In the logistics sector, DP World’s inland port in Kigali and regular RwandAir Kigali-Dubai flights provide flexible maritime and air transport means, the ambassador said. DP World is currently expanding its facilities in Kigali.
RwandAir, Rwanda’s flag 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, the diplomat said.

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, he explained.


Between 2000 and 2023, 14 UAE companies registered their businesses in Rwanda with investment commitments valued at over US$320 million in sectors such as logistics, hospitality, mineral processing, manufacturing, road safety, transportation and agriculture, the envoy noted.

Highlighting Rwanda’s investment-friendly landscape, Ambassador Mirenge encouraged more UAE companies to explore opportunities in his country.
Ambassador Mirenge pointed out the growing bilateral cooperation in other areas such as hospitality, health, education, information and communications technology (ICT), innovation, government experience exchange, and multilateral fora.

New Areas

In terms of new areas of cooperation, the top diplomat emphasised the importance of the fourth industrial revolution, including artificial intelligence and space technology.

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 these sectors, he said.
Sustainable environment collaboration, focusing on urbanisation, renewable energy, and green growth, aligns with both nations' ambitions, the envoy stressed.

Talking about the education sector, Ambassador Mirenge said 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, he noted.

Amjad Saleh / Binsal Abdulkader

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