NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 17 – The Kenyan community living in Botswana has lobbied the National Assembly to intervene to have Kenya Airways resume direct flights to Botswana which were halted in 2016.
Speaking through their Chairperson Tom Ochieng Atonga, the community said the re-introduction will not only boost trade but allow more Kenyans to exploit business opportunities.
“The direct flight is a major issue. At the moment, you have to go through South Africa which is expensive and a challenge for businesses who deal with some sensitive goods such as flowers. The flights were stopped on what they said was bad business and huge taxes and we are calling on Parliament to see how you can intervene,” said Atonga.
Kenyans in Botswana have also called for a speedy end to negotiations regarding visa upon arrival in South Africa, noting that this was critical for the expansion of their enterprise in Botswana.
Atonga said negotiations on the visa agreement have been ongoing on for a while now.
Speaking during a dinner hosted in their honour by Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi, the Chargé d’affaires at the Kenya High Commission Anastacia Nerima Osundwa disclosed that there are on-going negotiations between National Safety and Transport Authority (Kenya) and Botswana authorities to have bus companies operating between Nairobi and Gaborone.
“If the negations will be successful, it would offer a shot in the arm to the improvement of trade between the two countries. Kenyans will have an opportunity to transport their goods directly to available markets in Botswana,” she said, urging the respective government to facilitate the necessary approvals for the bus route to be operational.
Osundwa said another concern that requires urgent attention is the issue of renewal of work permits which she said has become a nightmare as Kenyans are only issued with a three-year work permit.
The Speaker who is leading a Kenyan Delegation to the 49th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Conference-Africa Region, in Gaborone, Botswana, noted that there exists great opportunities of trade between Nairobi and Gaborone, and urged the High Commission to ensure that trade between the two states is heightened.
He observed that there is a need for the House Defence and Foreign Relations Committee to ensure the Commission is well facilitated to tap on the great trade opportunities between the two countries.
Speaker Muturi noted that 20 years after Botswana sought Kenya’s expertise for technology transfer in education, health among other fields; professionals ranging from nurses, to teachers and engineers have continued to help build the economy of Botswana and urged them to extend their expertise back home.