Qatar and Kenya strengthen maritime ties

Direct shipping line to be established between two nations.
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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 The Qatar government has signed a maritime cooperation agreement with Kenya as part of efforts to establish a direct shipping line between Doha and Mombasa.

The deal, signed in Nairobi, includes agreements on seafarers that will help Kenyans get a priority in employment opportunities with Qatar shipping lines.

"Under the maritime deal, there will be direct shipping between Mombasa and Doha, which is set to boost trade in Kenya and the East African region," said a statement issued after the signing ceremony.

The deal was witnessed by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta who met a Qatari delegation led by transport minister Jassim Saif Al Sulaiti.

During the talks, Sulaiti briefed President Kenyatta on other economic deals that were initiated when Kenyatta paid a state visit to Qatar earlier in the year, in which Kenya is set to benefit from its cooperation with Qatar.

According to the ministry of trade, bilateral trade is in favour of Qatar as Kenya’s exports to Qatar in 2011 totalled US$580,000, while imports reached $11million dollars.

Most of Kenya’s exports included unprocessed agricultural goods, while its imports consisted of fertilizer, chemicals, plastics and furniture.

"The delegation also informed the President that Qatar Airways will soon start cargo flights from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport," the statement said.

"Another team from Qatar is expected to come to Nairobi to map out the deal in which cargo will be lifted from Nairobi to Doha for onward transmission to all parts of the world," it said.

Sulaiti informed the President that his government has also offered to give training to three Kenyan engineers on port development.

The three engineers will be attached to the Doha Port Authority and will be exposed to port constructions and improvements, and Qatar will employ more Kenyans in its aviation and transport sector.

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