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Kenya negotiate for direct flights with Tunisia

In Summary

• It takes more than a day to fly from Nairobi to Tunis, with no direct flights either way

• People traveling between the two nations connect through Middle East or Egypt

Tunisian minister for commerce Omar Behi with PS Betty Maina and KNCCI chief executive Kiprono Kittony
Tunisian minister for commerce Omar Behi with PS Betty Maina and KNCCI chief executive Kiprono Kittony
Image: COURTESY

Kenya and Tunisia are set to have direct flights as the African begin to establish better trade corporations and investment.

According to PS State Department for Investment and Industry Betty Maina, the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) is at an advanced stage of negotiation, providing an opportunity for ease of travel and exports between the two countries.

“This will depend on commercial engagement and numbers of travellers involved between Kenya airways and Tunisia airways,” Betty said.

People traveling between the two nations connect through Middle East or Egypt.

Flights from Tunisia through Qatar take at least seven hours and another six hours from Qatar to Nairobi, with the journey taking close to two days. 

According to international cooperation director Tunisia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI), the engagement will also involve discussions to scrap the visa requirement.

The announcement was made during Kenya-Tunisia Business Forum yesterday. The outcomes will see Kenya gain a fast and easier linkage to the European market with more than 400 million consumers.

This is the first business forum ever held between the countries.

The forum saw the countries’ investment agencies sign partnership agreements between Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and CCI Sousse.

Kenya Private Sector Alliance also inked a deal with Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA),to facilitate organisation of trade meetings and identification of investment opportunities to grow trade volumes.

The northern African country has  comparative advantage in construction and public works, electrical materials, food industry, pharmaceuticals and green economy and technologies.

Kenya is looking to grow business in sectors and sub-sectors including tourism, maritime and fish processing, textiles, leather, agro-processing, oil, mining and gas, iron and steel.

Currently, the average balance of trade is in Tunisia’s favour. In 2017, exports to Tunisia were Sh29.27 million while imports were valued at Sh63.47 million.