African leaders bring dream of Kenya-US direct flights closer

Rwandan President Paul Kagame was among African leaders who held talks with US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

Direct flights between Kenya and the US could be on the horizon.

This follows high-level talks in New York, US, between President Barack Obama’s administration and African leaders.

The continent’s leaders emphasised the need to have the direct flights, stressing that this will open up investment opportunities.

Deputy President William Ruto and other regional leaders, including President Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Paul Kagame (Rwanda) and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn held talks with US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

Mr Ruto also held talks with the US Secretary of Transport on the matter.

“There have been discussions between the Governments of Kenya and the US for almost two years. I did meet with the secretary for transport and had a discussion with her on this particular subject. On Wednesday we met her deputy and again discussed the issue,” disclosed the DP.

He continued: “Direct flights by Kenya Airways to the US will be a good way to start. That realisation is now home.”

Kenya has partially complied with some of the requirement by the US government.

During the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya, President Obama made an undertaking that the direct flights would commence in July this year subject to fulfillment of the aviation requirements.

“There were issues to do with adjusting the way the airport operates so that we can better secure the citizens and those steps have been taken,” the DP confirmed.

He also disclosed that the country is at his final stages in fulfilling the outstanding issues.

“Once we complete this stage, another review can be done and subsequent to that review, we can now discuss the timelines for putting pen to paper so that we can start the direct flights,” said Ruto.

The DP explained that the direct flights will bring many benefits not just to Kenya but also to Africa as a whole.

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