PM’s visit to UAE solidifies St. Kitts-Nevis’ ties with most competitive economy in Middle East
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris, and His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, minister of foreign affairs of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), held a constructive meeting April 10, which included the signing of a landmark air services agreement to pave the way for air traffic between the two countries.
It is within the context of pursuing increased transportation links between St. Kitts-Nevis and the United Arab Emirates that a topic of discussion was the possibility of a visa-free waiver agreement between the countries. Nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis do not need visas or entry permits to enter more than 150 countries.
Prime Minister Harris, while discussing a wide range of issues of common concern and interest, thanked Sheikh Abdullah for continuing to strengthen the relationship with St. Kitts and Nevis through various projects such as the UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund. This fund is administered by a steering committee comprised the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC), the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), and technical advisor Masdar, also known as the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, which invests in and develops renewable energy and sustainable technology projects in the UAE and internationally.
Considering mutually beneficial partnerships between the two countries, Sheikh Abdullah expressed the UAE’s interest in establishing education and technology initiatives with the goal of increasing youth participation throughout St. Kitts and Nevis in these vital sectors.
The prime minister and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan met in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, which ranks first in global competitiveness in the Middle East region, including in ground and port infrastructure, information and communication technology (ICT) readiness, safety and security, transport infrastructure, and tourist service infrastructure.
During the three year Harris’ Team Unity government has been in office, his administration has yielded steady gains and strong performance, resulting in other countries in the Caribbean region looking toward the progress of the St. Kitts and Nevis government as a model. For instance, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis exceeds the average growth in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) region.
Also, on the 2017 International Telecommunication Union’s ICT Development Index, St. Kitts and Nevis’ rank is No. 37 out of 176 countries. St. Kitts and Nevis ranks ahead of The Bahamas (No. 57), Trinidad and Tobago (No. 68), Grenada (No. 73), Antigua and Barbuda (No. 76), Dominica (No. 77), St. Vincent and the Grenadines (No. 82), Jamaica (No. 98) and several others in the region. In 2016, St. Kitts and Nevis climbed a remarkable 20 spots on the international ICT index – by far the most improved country.