Kenya and the wealthy Persian Gulf State of Qatar yesterday signed agreements of cooperation on tourism, education and culture as part of activities marking the Emir of Qatar’s State visit to the country.
The agreements were signed after President Uhuru Kenyatta and His Highness Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani held bilateral talks at State House, Nairobi, where the Kenyan government also presented proposals of new opportunities for investment to their Qatari counterparts.
The Memorandum of Understanding on tourism cooperation between the two countries provides for the creation of conditions for long-term collaboration in tourism through exchange of expertise, statistics, marketing and promotion.
The agreement on education, scientific research and technology provides a general framework for cooperation in basic education, higher education and science and technology through exchanges of information, expertise and visits.
The two countries also signed an agreement that provides for cooperation in the understanding and promotion of each other’s cultural arts and matters, through exchanges and participation in each other’s cultural activities such as festivals, symposia and exhibitions.
President Kenyatta hailed the visit by the Emir as testimony of the cordial relations between Kenya and the Persian Gulf State.
He said the signed agreements will facilitate implementation of projects in various sectors of the economy and other proposals that would be presented to the Qatari leader during his visit.
“Kenya will therefore appreciate your country’s support for development projects in infrastructure, education, energy, tourism and hospitality sectors among others,” said the President during the bilateral meeting.
He encouraged Qatar to continue using Kenya as a spring board for its investments in the COMESA market region, noting that Kenya has the right mix of being a regional business, financial, transport and industrial hub.
President Kenyatta also thanked the government of Qatar for the support it gave to the National Treasury of Kenya to establish the Nairobi International Finance Centre (NIFC).
“Financial services sector is one of the key drivers of Kenya’s economy and therefore the financial centre will be a catalyst to international financial transactions both in Kenya and in the region once it is complete,” said President Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta said the government appreciates the continued job opportunities for Kenyans in Qatar as he requested the Emir to give more Kenyans jobs in his country.
“We also request Qatar to consider supporting capacity building in Kenya particularly in the Aviation industry to meet the demand for specialized cadres of staff in our two countries,” said President Kenyatta.
On his part the Qatari Emir said it was unfortunate that Kenya and Qatar have in the past failed to exploit the historical ties between the two regions for the economic benefit of their people.
He said his visit to Kenya will go a long way in strengthening mechanisms to exploit the new opportunities that were created after President Kenyatta’s State Visit to Qatar in 2014.
Al Thani also lauded Kenya for its efforts in fighting terror, saying it was a global problem that requires cooperation to provide global solutions.
The Qatari leader also assured Mr Kenyatta that his country remains committed to supporting Kenya in the establishment of the international financial centre that will turn Nairobi into a global financial hub.
He also said that Qatar will share its experience of being a football 2022 World Cup host with Kenya.