Al Baker said that apart from the 49% stake in Rwanda that both parties are negotiating, there are several projects in which Qatar has interest, including the New Bugesera International Airport being built by Qatar Sovereign Wealth Fund.
“We are attracted to Kigali because of its location, the stability of the country and the very favorable business environment that exists. Besides, in Africa there’s a big demand for air travel which today Africa is very poorly connected with. So we always look at the opportunities in our field to do investments,” Akbar Al Baker considered.
The development comes after December last year where the Government of Rwanda and Qatar Airways concluded an investment partnership for New Bugesera International Airport, with three agreements to build, own, and operate the state-of-the-art facility.
Qatar Airways has agreed to take a 60% stake in the project, which as a whole is valued at around $1.3 billion. The new airport will have a throughput of seven million passengers per year, during the first phase. It will be completed and become operational by 2022.
Passenger capacity is set to increase in subsequent phases of the airport expansion.
Rwanda has been tipped as one of the best touristic destinations in the world, apart from positioning itself as the conference hub of meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions.
This is good news for RwandAir and its passengers, as Qatar Airways holds the ‘World’s Best Airline’ in the 2019 Skytrax World Airline Awards. It is the only airline in the competition’s history to win it five times; 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2019.
With a fleet of twelve aircraft including two wide-body, Airbus A330 acquired last year, RwandAir currently reaches out to 29 destinations across East, Central, West and Southern Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.
Rwanda and Qatar enjoy very fruitful bilateral relations. The Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was in Rwanda last December for International Anti-Corruption Excellence Awards named after him.