Emmanuel Kamarianakis, Canadian Consul-General in Dubai, told Gulf News he is overwhelmed by the response from Canadian expats to this year’s historic anniversary judging by the turnout of hundreds at the launch of Canada 150 in Dubai on January 18 sponsored by the Canada Club and the consulate.
“It’s a real groundswell,” Kamarianakis said. “I’m really happy with the response.”
An estimated 25,000 Canadian expats live in Dubai and another 15,000 are said to be living in Abu Dhabi.
Kamarianakis, a 23-year-veteran diplomat with the Canadian Foreign Service, said the strong response by Canadians here is due in part to a lot of volunteerism going on within his consulate as well as a special ad hoc committee comprising expats within the business community.
“We have a great Canadian community here that is very passionate about Canada,” Kamarianakis said from his consulate office in the Emirates Towers.
According to the Canadian Embassy, “Canada and the UAE have a broad and deep relationship”. As trade and travel of its citizens increases, the embassy says that it is focused principally on a number of priorities, including: building prosperity for both our societies, strengthening regional and global security, contributing to economic and social development in third countries, including empowering women and girls [and] deepening people-to-people ties.”
Critical export market
In just a few short years, the UAE has become a critical export market for Canada as the UAE economy continues to grow exponentially.
“The UAE is Canada’s largest export market in the Middle East and North Africa, and is Canada’s 15th largest export market globally,” said the embassy in a statement.
“Foreign Direct Investment is a key area of common interest with the UAE, with traditional Emirati investments in Canada estimated by the UAE Ministry of Economy to be in excess of $30 billion in 2015.
“The UAE provides easy access to 2.5 billion consumers within five-hour flights and flies to more than 160 destinations, that is partly why over 150 Canadian companies have based their regional operations in the UAE.”
Trade between the two countries grew from $564 million (Dh2.06 billion) in 2005 to $2.6 billion in 2014, according to UAE figures, a rise of 361 per cent.
The embassy emphasized that “Canada and the UAE work together to counter violent extremism, including through Canada’s membership on the International Steering Board of UAE-based Hedayah Centre.”