Qatar is expected to become a major investor in Rwanda’s Bugesera Airport after both countries signed an agreement to bolster aviation investments and co-operation.
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, was in Kigali this past week on a three-day tour where he held talks with President Paul Kagame. This came at a time when Qatari investments in the region are increasing.
The two countries signed agreements in aviation travel and logistics, culture, sports and tourism and business events.
The Emir’s visit was a follow-up to President Kagame’s visit to Doha in November 2018, where they sealed deals on economic, commercial, and technical co-operation.
The agreements involve strategic co-operation with Rwanda’s Aviation Travel and Logistics (ATL)—the company managing RwandAir—and Qatar Airways.
ATL is also the government’s aviation investment arm with a 25 per cent stake in the Bugesera Airport, while 75 per cent is owned by Portuguese firm Mota-Engil.
The government said it wants to attract more investors in the Bugesera project, which is expected to become the country’s largest airport.
Whereas diplomatic relations between Qatar and Rwanda began as recently as 2017, the Gulf country has had ties with Kenya — East Africa’s biggest economy—since 2003, when Kenya opened an embassy in Doha.
Qatar runs three embassies in the region—Kenya, Tanzania and South Sudan—and 20 in other countries on the continent.