Qatar Economic Forum Discusses Impact of Connecting Middle East, Africa on Enhancing Economic Development on the Continent

Doha, May 15 (QNA) – Under the title “Connecting the Middle East and Africa,” a panel discussion held today with the Qatar Economic Forum discussed ways to enhance economic development in Africa through growing partnerships between Qatar Airways and several of its counterparts in Africa, especially Rwanda’s RwandAir.

Hosted by CEO of Qatar Airways Group Eng. Badr Mohammed Al Meer and CEO of RwandAir Yvonne Manzi Makolo, the panel addressed the challenges facing the civil aviation sector, including delays in aircraft deliveries. It also discussed current and upcoming Qatari initiatives planned for implementation in the African continent, including expansion projects aimed at strengthening connections between the Middle East and Africa.

On the challenges, Eng. Badr Mohammed Al Meer said that the issue of manufacturers not delivering aircraft orders on time, places a significant burden on airlines worldwide, hindering their growth plans and their commitments to passengers.

He pointed to Qatar Airways’ efforts to assist the world major aircraft manufacturers, Boeing and Airbus, in finding solutions to this problem, expressing concern over the impact of delayed deliveries on their plans.

Regarding the existing partnership with RwandAir, he confirmed that it will offer travelers more global destinations and provide better services characterized by convenience and ease, which is a shared goal for both Qatar and RwandAir. He noted that the partnership’s aim is to extend Qatar Airways’ coverage across various parts of Africa, including Central and Southern regions.

The carrier has a significant network in Africa, flying to more than 30 destinations, he said pointing that Qatar Airway’s model includes covering the entire African continent. The arrier’s network in North, West, and East Africa is growing organically and it reaches reach four cities in Nigeria he said
Al Meer added that the company has a very successful partnership with Royal Air Maroc, and also making steady growth on the East side of Africa. The missing part in covering all of Africa is Central and Southern Africa, he said pointing that the company is working with the government in Kigali to build an airport and infrastructure to meet the requirements of having a hub in Central Africa.

Eng. Al Meer also discussed expansion projects in Africa as it’s an important market for Qatar Airways. He mentioned having a strategic plan to expand its network on the continent and being close to finalizing an agreement with a similar company in Southern Africa, without specifying its name.

On her part, CEO of RwandAir, Yvonne Manzi Makolo, highlighted the challenge of aircraft manufacturers not meeting orders on time, which becomes more acute with smaller airlines like theirs. She emphasized that not only the production of new aircraft is the issue, but also obtaining spare parts poses a challenge, leading to longer periods of grounded planes. She expressed hope for resolving this issue, as without it, the entire sector would be affected.

She also pointed out other challenges related to connecting the African continent with other aviation hubs, such as the continent’s population of one billion people and the active aviation movement, which imposes challenges in managing these flights. However, she expressed strong belief that the partnership between RwandAir and Qatar Airways will help connect the African continent with the rest of the world and will be a successful operation, especially by focusing on successful routes, like those offered by Qatar Airways. (QNA)