Building momentum for the Great Lakes Investment and Trade Conference in Kigali, Rwanda

UN special envoyThe UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region, Huang Xia, and his delegation, meeting with Emirati officials

Dubai (United Arab Emirates), 1 March 2020 – The Office of the United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region is on a campaign trail to mobilize resources to attract business and investment in the Great Lakes, thereby contributing to the development efforts in the region. It is with this objective in mind that United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region Huang Xia attended a roadshow in Dubai from 29 February to 1 March. The event was organized by the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) in collaboration with the Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development (AAAID), the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Rwanda High Commission in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Special Envoy first attended a roadshow in Dubai on 29 February. This promotional event saw the participation of over 50 business representatives from the Golf States who expressed interest in attending the Great Lakes Investment and Trade Conference (GLITC) scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda, on 18-20 March 2020.

Special Envoy Xia, then met with Hassan Al Hashemi, Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce (UAE branch) and Vice-President of the Dubai International Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Emirati authority promised his support to the event while stressing the importance of creating a positive narrative around the Great Lakes region.

Mr. Xia later received an audience from HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi.

The two officials exchanged views on the immense potential for investment and trade in the Great Lakes region, which remains largely untapped. The minister said he was confident that Emirati businesspeople would attend the investment and trade conference in Kigali. He also welcomed the gathering as a gateway to expand the UAE’s footprint in the region, which, by the minister’s account, had been limited to North African countries and a few East African states. In this regard, the Special Envoy welcomed a more significant presence of the UAE in a series of initiatives this year, including the upcoming forum of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in May.


The Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement (PSC-F) signatory countries convened the Great lakes Investment and Trade Conference (GLITC) as a follow-up action to the first Private Sector Investment Conference, held in 2016 in Kinshasa. The mobilization of private sector investment into the region to harness the extensive natural resources endowments and existing economic opportunities could be catalytic in creating shared prosperity and destiny. On the long run, private sector investment bears the potential to contribute to the collective efforts towards sustainable peace, stability and the transformation of the Great Lakes region. Thus, the Conference will focus on cross-border trade and investment, as catalysts for regional integration.

Organized by