President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday held talks with a delegation of senior Qatar government officials on a number of bilateral issues including a planned direct flight between Doha and Mombasa.
The team led by Minister for Transport and Communication Jassim Bin Saif Al Sulati informed the Head of State of plans by Qatar Airways to start direct flights between Doha and Mombasa on December 9. “We are excited to inform Your Excellency that Qatar Airways will start direct flights from Doha to Mombasa on December 9 this year,” Al Sulati said.
The direct flights between Doha and Mombasa is expected to be a huge boost to government efforts to reposition the coastal city as a key global tourist destination.
Qatar Airways is also working on scheduled direct flights between Italy and Malindi as it seeks to grow its footprints in Kenya. Besides aviation, the meeting held at State House Nairobi discussed several sectors of interest to Qatari investors among them housing, aviation, maritime and hospitality.
In housing, which is one of the four pillars of the government’s Big 4 development agenda, the Qatari Minister informed President Uhuru that a consortium of Qatari investors were at hand to invest in 100,000 affordable housing units. In his remarks, Uhuru welcomed the direct flights by Qatar Airways to Mombasa and encouraged Qatari investors to consider opportunities created by the Big 4 agenda, particularly in public transport and hospitality sectors.
“We look forward to the maiden flight by Qatar Airways to Mombasa. For us the flight is a confirmation of the continued and growing cooperation between our two countries,” he said.
While acknowledging Qatar for their role in the export of Kenyan products, especially flowers and fruits, the President challenged the Gulf state to consider import of meat products from Kenya.President Uhuru pledged government’s readiness to support Qatari investors interested in Kenya, saying that the country was open and ready for investment.
“As you shop around for investment opportunities, be assured that the government is ready and committed to supporting investors from your country to set up in Kenya,” President Kenyatta assured.
The Qatari delegation which comprised Qatar Ambassador to Kenya Jabr Al Dosari and Qatar Airways Chief executive officer Akbar Al-Baker also confirmed to the President their country’s participation in the Blue Economy Conference which Kenya will co-host with Canada in Nairobi next month.
The theme of the conference is Blue Economy and the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development, will focus on new technologies and innovation for oceans, seas, lakes and rivers as well as the challenges, potential opportunities, priorities and partnerships.
Qatar has a highly developed marine trade ecosystem from which Kenya can greatly benefit as it develops its blue economy. Present during the meeting was Transport Cabinet secretary James Macharia, Chief Administrative Secretary Chris Obure and National Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge.