Russia mulls direct flights to Kenya

February 1, 2011
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, NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 1 – Visiting Parliamentarians from Russia on Monday pledged to push for the introduction of direct flights between Nairobi and Moscow in a bid to boost bilateral trade.

Speaking during a business forum with the National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende, the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Svetlana Orlova said the lack of direct flights was the biggest hindrance to many Russian tourists who would like to visit Kenya.

“The tourism sector is very important and when I get back to Russia, we will talk about it with the our Minister for Tourism, and what is also important is to also have flight from Moscow-Nairobi, Vladivostok-Nairobi, Khabarovsk- Nairobi and other Russian cities to bring tourists to Nairobi,” said the Deputy Chairman who is the equivalent of the Deputy Speaker in Kenya.

She said that they also mulling to start the importation of Kenyan coffee and flowers.

“We would have liked to see an aero float flying into Nairobi and Kenya Airways fly to Moscow but the necessary agreements have not been signed” Ms Orlova said.

Speaker Marende said the move will greatly help bridge the balance of trade which currently stands at Sh7.5 billion in favour of Russia.

“From the statistics that I have from my research, I have found that Russia has the highest number of billionaires in the world, so encourage them to visit Kenya. I also have information that they are among the world’s biggest spenders, Russians largely like to live well,” said Mr Marende.

He urged the Russian MPs to consider direct sales of agricultural fertilizer to Kenyan farmers saying the middlemen had for long made the input expensive for the farmers.

“Russia is supplying fertilizer to Kenya but is going through third parties we would like to see it coming to Kenya directly, it will help to improve our agricultural production,” he said.

The Deputy Chairman said they are also planning to set up a fertilizer factory in Kenya.

Ms Orlova said that Russian companies had expressed interest in undertaking several infrastructural projects such as the construction of the modern railway line, the Lamu Port and thermal and atomic energy projects. 

The Russians also plan to establish a Cultural Institute in Kenya as part of boosting its 48 year relationship with the Kenya.

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