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Sunday, March 3, 2024

UAE and Congo-Brazzaville finalise Economic Partnership Agreement

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Republic of Congo-Brazzaville have successfully concluded negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa), solidifying their commitment to fostering increased trade and investment ties. The agreement, formalized through a joint statement signed by Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Jean-Baptiste Ondaye, Minister of Economy and Finance for the Republic of Congo-Brazzaville, aims to facilitate smoother economic collaboration.

Upon ratification and implementation, the UAE-Congo-Brazzaville Cepa is poised to reduce or eliminate tariffs, remove trade barriers, enhance market access, streamline customs procedures, and establish platforms for collaborative investment in key sectors. This landmark deal builds on the upward trajectory of bilateral cooperation between the two nations, evidenced by a 134 percent increase in non-oil trade during the first half of 2023, reaching a noteworthy $2.1 billion.

The agreement follows the earlier signing of three strategic accords in 2023, including a double taxation avoidance agreement, an investment promotion and protection agreement, and an air transport agreement. The UAE and Congo-Brazzaville are consolidating their economic partnership for mutual benefit.

Dr Al Zeyoudi emphasized the significance of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, stating, “The conclusion of negotiations…marks an important progression in our efforts to strengthen economic ties not only with the African continent but with a strategic partner with which we have seen non-oil trade more than double in the first half of 2023.” He highlighted Congo-Brazzaville’s role as a vital trade destination and gateway to Central Africa for UAE exporters, while the UAE provides a crucial connection to Gulf and Asian markets.

Minister Ondaye expressed confidence in the positive impact of the strategic partnership, foreseeing significant contributions to financing key projects in Congo. The Republic of Congo-Brazzaville, situated in West-Central Africa, shares borders with Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola. In 2022, the total value of non-oil trade between the UAE and Congo-Brazzaville amounted to approximately $2.2 billion, reflecting a 5 percent growth compared to 2021 and a substantial 29 percent growth compared to 2020.

According to 2022 data, Congo-Brazzaville ranks as the twelfth largest trading partner of the UAE among non-Arab African countries. Additionally, the UAE stands as the eighth largest export market and thirteenth largest import market for Congo-Brazzaville. Notably, the UAE contributes to about 72 percent of Congo-Brazzaville’s non-oil trade with Arab countries. This collaborative effort underscores the commitment of both nations to fostering economic prosperity and reinforcing their strategic partnership in the years to come.

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