Friday, 28 April 2017

KENYA: Government Wants Game Parks Managed By Foreign Firm, Kenya & Qatar To Promote Tourism

The county government is pushing to have its game parks and reserves managed by a foreign firm. And in an effort to win the support of locals in its plan, the government has taken a team on a tour of a game park in Kigali, Rwanda, to see how a foreign company has managed it.

The group that was taken to Kigali has 26 people who include elders and NGO officials. They toured Akagera National Park in Kayonza District, which is managed by a foreign firm.

Akagera, a public facility measuring 112, 000 hectares, is managed by African Parks Ltd, a South African firm. The firm also manages game parks in Malawi, Zambia, DR Congo, Central Africa Republic and Chad.

In 2015, the county administration came up with the idea of handing over management of Shaba and Buffalo Springs national reserves to the South African firm.

Buffalo Springs measures 131 square kilometres while Shaba has an area of 254 square kilometres. In the same year 2015, Governor Godana Doyo, Speaker Mohammed Tubi and Tourism executive Suleiman Shunu toured Majete Game Park in Malawi, which is managed by African Parks as part of their study.

The officials said they were satisfied with the firm's wildlife conservation and management. Doyo and another team toured Akagera. At the weekend, the 26 were taken around Akagera by the park's manager and chief executive officer Jes Gruner to see how it is managed.

Grunner said all animals in Akagera, including elephants, lions, Buffaloes and zebras, were all killed following the Rwanda genocide of 1994. ''We came here in 2010 and there was no single animal. African Parks partnered with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to create the Akagera Management Company (AMC), the entity that manages the park,'' he said.

Meanwhile, Kenya and Qatar have signed agreements to promote tourism, education and culture. The deals signed with the rich Persian Gulf nation are part of activities marking the Emir of Qatar's visit to Kenya.

The agreements were signed between President Uhuru Kenyatta and His Highness Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at State House.

Uhuru also presented proposals on new opportunities for investment to Qatar. The MoU on tourism provides for creation of conditions for long-term collaboration through exchange of expertise, statistics, marketing and promotion.

The pact on education provides a framework for cooperation in basic education, higher education and science and technology through exchanges of information, expertise and visits.

The two countries also signed an agreement that provides for co-operation in understanding and promoting each other's culture, through exchanges and participation in each other's activities such as festivals, symposia and exhibitions.

President Kenyatta hailed the visit by the Emir as testimony of the cordial relations between the two countries. He said the agreements will facilitate implementation of projects in various sectors. He other proposals will be presented to the Qatari leader during his visit.

Kenya will appreciate your country's support for development projects in infrastructure, education, energy, tourism and hospitality sectors among others, said the President.

He encouraged Qatar to continue using Kenya as a spring board for its investments in the Comesa market region noting Kenya has the right mix of being a regional business, financial, transport and industrial hub.

President Kenyatta also thanked the government of Qatar for the support it gave to the National Treasury to establish the Nairobi International Finance Center.

Financial services sector is one of the key drivers of Kenya's economy and therefore the Financial Centre will be a catalyst to international financial transactions both in Kenya and in the region once it is complete, said President Kenyatta.

The Qatari Emir said it was unfortunate that Kenya and Qatar have in the past failed to exploit their historical ties for the economic growth.

He said his visit will strengthen mechanisms to exploit new opportunities created after President Kenyatta's visit to Qatar in 2014.

Al Thani also lauded Kenya for its efforts in fighting terror. Terrorism is a global problem that requires the world to come together to provide a solution, he said.

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