The Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called for a less prohibitive environment to make the trade relationship between Kenya and the United Arabs Emirates more robust.

The chamber’s national chairman Kiprono Kittony and Nairobi branch chairman Richard Ngatia said laws relating to legal documents including visas need to be relaxed to enhance the ease of doing business.

“We find it difficult to conduct business with a visitor’s visa which lasts for just 30 days,” Ngatia said.

He wants the validity extended to five years for stronger business partnerships. Ngatia is also a businessman with interests in the UAE.

“I humbly request for you to look into the issuance of visas,” Ngatia told UAE officials during a consultative meeting with business leaders at Kempinski hotel in Nairobi.

The UAE currently issues multiple visas including those valid for six months.

The country’s officials have organised a week-long engagement on trade and investment to look into ease of doing business in Asian country.

The UAE replaced India as Kenya’s second-largest import source in December last year. It was initially the leading source of imports before being overtaken by India. India was later bypassed by China, which is still leading.

Official economic data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows imports to Kenya from the UAE rose from $284 million in the second quarter of last year to $473 million in the third quarter.

Kittony urged traders and investors from the UAE to leverage on the government’s Big Four agenda to invest in affordable housing, universal healthcare, food security and the manufacturing sector.

“These areas provide an excellent opportunity for investors from the UAE,” Kittony said. The UAE delegation has been in the country under a forum dubbed “The Kenya-Uganda Trade Mission East Africa” which was jointly organised by Sharjah Exports Development Center and KNCCI.