, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 27- Brazil is calling on Kenya to finalise ratification of a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) signed close to four and a half years ago that would allow Kenya Airways (KQ) to fly directly to Brazil.
The agreement, whose endorsement should be approved by the National Assembly, will see Kenya’s national airline fly between Nairobi and selected Brazilian cities.
Brazilian Ambassador to Kenya Marcela Nicodemos says a direct flight between Kenya and Brazil would play a great role in growing the number of Brazilian tourists to Kenya.
“One of the reasons we cannot have as many tourists even in both ways is that unfortunately, back in 2010, Brazil and Kenya signed an open sky agreement but we still need the Kenyan part to ratify,” she said adding that the her government has already approved the pact.
Nicodemos notes that a lot of movement between the two countries will enhance their relationship adding that “both countries still don’t know each other as required for proper trade.”
Direct flights will give room to more Kenyans to travel to Brazil and seek investment opportunities, a move that would help reduce the trade imbalance between the two countries which is still huge.
For example in 2014, the trade between the two nations stood at Sh5.6billion ($57million) with Brazil taking the biggest chunk of Sh5.4billion ($56million).
“We truly believe that we are able to tackle that imbalance because it is not in our interest to only sell things to Kenya. But we think it’s important to balance the trade flow. We believe the service industry like tourism, where we promote the Kenyan tourism in Brazil, would help a lot in bringing back the balance,” Head of Trade Section at the Brazilian Embassy in Nairobi Victoria Bacthar mentioned.
The two were speaking ahead of the 3rd Brazil Eastern Africa Expo 2015 to be held between June 3 and 5 at Nairobi’s Safari Park Hotel.
The conference is expected to feature over 50 firms from Brazil seeking opportunities in Kenya and the East Africa region. They will be among a 100 exhibitors slated to participate in the expo.
“This will be a time for local investors to interact with our business people and see what kind of partnerships we can create. With backing from both the Brazilian and Kenyan governments, the experiences shall definitely propel the East African region to great heights in terms of modern farming and mechanization, post harvesting and value addition solutions, manufacturing and general trading,” noted Marcos Brandalise who is the Managing Director for BrazAfric Enterprises, the organising company.
The forum takes place every two years with the last three two events taking place in Kenya.