BY MACHARIA KAMAU
Kenya plans to boost trade and investments with Burundi and Rwanda. The optimism follows the introduction of new direct flights to Kigali in Rwanda and Bujumbura in Burundi by Kenya Airways (KQ).
KQ chief executive officer Titus Naikuni said the airline will ply two direct flights daily — in the mornings and evenings, to each of the two East African cities. This will be in addition to the existing round flight from Nairobi via Kigali and Bujumbura and back daily.
“These twice a day direct flights from Nairobi to Kigali and Bujumbura tie in with our plans to fly to every African capital by 2016,” Mr Naikuni said in a statement.
“This is as we seek to contribute to the sustainable development of Africa.” Kenya and Burundi governments in April resolved to strengthen existing bilateral ties between the two friendly nations. The two countries reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the existing cooperation.
There are Kenyan firms doing business in Burundi, taking advantage of the new Investment Code enacted by the Government of Burundi.
Some of these companies include Kenya Airways, Diamond Trust Bank, Kobil Oil, Jubilee Insurance, Pembe Millers, Kenya Commercial Bank, as well as some small and medium enterprises. Burundi has expressed optimism that her firms will also set up operations in Kenya to take advantage of the increased business opportunities.
Already, East African Community member States have removed some legal and regulatory impediments to business.
These includes lower administrative barriers to trade and investments, improve infrastructure, tighten security as well as strengthen governance processes and institutions.
Naikuni said the additional direct flight to Kigali will increase travel and trade amongst EAC countries following the implementation of the common market protocol. The Protocol paved way for free movement of labour, goods and services within the region.