Colombia aims to attract UAE investment worth $700 million after signing Cepa

Green hydrogen and digital economy will provide new investment opportunities for investors, South American nation's trade minister says

UAE President Sheikh Mohamed witnessed the signing of the UAE-Colombia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Wam
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Colombia aims to attract investment between $600 million and $700 million after the South American country signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) with the UAE on Friday.

The new investment from the UAE is expected to be made in sectors including green hydrogen and digital economy, according to Colombia’s trade, industry and tourism minister.

The new deal “will enhance the trade and investment co-operation between the two countries, with the participation of their private sectors in business, services, trade, investment, and other vital sectors that will have a positive economic impact”, German Mendoza told the state-run news agency Wam.

“It will open a new trade corridor between South America and the Middle East, which are key markets with more than 800 million consumers.”

The UAE and Colombia have continued to strengthen economic ties, with non-oil trade between the two countries rising by 43 per cent in 2023 to reach a record $53.1 million, more than double the total achieved in 2021.

The two countries have also signed co-operation agreements in renewable energy, environment, hydrogen, travel, free zones and artificial intelligence.

“The UAE-Colombia Cepa will open a promising new chapter in deepening economic ties between the two nations, enabling businesses to benefit from access to not only each other’s markets but also their respective regions,” said President Sheikh Mohamed, who witnessed the signing of the agreement along with the Colombian President Gustavo Petro.

The Arab world’s second largest economy aims to boost non-oil foreign trade to more than Dh4 trillion ($1 trillion) by 2031 with new trade deals.

It has so far concluded Cepas with India, Turkey, Israel, Indonesia, Cambodia, Georgia, as well as with Mauritius, Kenya, the Republic of Congo, Colombia and Costa Rica.

The UAE's plans to invest in Colombia’s green hydrogen sector come as the country positions itself as a major hydrogen producer with plans to export to global markets.

The UAE is not leaving “any stones unturned” to reach its goal of becoming a major hydrogen producer and exporter, a Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure official said last year.

The Emirates, which has shipped test cargoes of blue ammonia to countries such as Germany and Japan, is working with the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE) and the EU Commission to agree on a standard certification process for the export of the low-carbon fuel.

“Eventually, when we are to export hydrogen, the certification requirements need to match with the importing country,” said Sharif Al Olama, the ministry's Undersecretary for Energy and Petroleum Affairs.

Hydrogen comes in various forms, including blue, green, and grey. Blue and grey hydrogen are produced from natural gas, while green is derived from splitting water molecules by electrolysis.

The UAE aims to reach hydrogen production of 1.4 million tonnes annually by 2031. The target is then to reach 15 million tonnes of annual production by 2050.

Updated: April 20, 2024, 11:21 AM