The Rwanda Parliament on Wednesday approved draft laws approving the ratification of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASAs) between Rwanda and 5 Countries namely Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Somalia and Tunisia.
Also called air transport agreement, the air service agreement allows international commercial air transport services between signatories.
In a plenary session that preceded the approval, the Minister of Infrastructure Claver Gatete, was asked to explain how, with opening the skies to the countries, Rwanda is still assured of security.
Minister Gatete assured parliament that security was covered and informed lawmakers that Rwanda is currently working with the Qatar government to improve its aviation standards following an overhaul in aviation services, management, training and operations- which have seen establishment of independent companies like the Rwanda Airports Company (RAC) among others.
“We have been advancing our aviation operations not only in flights but standards and security, of which the recent International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) assessment ranked Rwanda top with 100% score,” Gatete said.
“As the aviation traffic increases, we are working on expanding this progress, with help of Qatar, to the new airport (Bugesera International Airport) which will involve training of aviation staff, improving security, operation standards among others,”.
Normally, the approval of ratifications of such agreements goes through the parliamentary foreign affairs committee for further assessment and validation of mutual benefits, but this time around lawmakers passed all the five BASA deals with a few corrections that the ministry took on.
The deals follow the October 12 Cabinet meeting which also approved the draft law approving the ratification of 11 bilateral air service agreements (BASAs) signed by Rwanda and other countries.
These include: The Republic of Chile, Dominican Republic, Republic of Finland, Jamaica, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, State of Kuwait, Malaysia, Republic of Mauritius, United Republic of Tanzania, United Arab Emirates and Republic of Zimbabwe.
All together the deals clock 99 agreements signed between Rwanda and other countries, which includes 52 agreements ratified by parliament, 16 others in process of signing and 31 of them already consented on in discussions.
Rwanda will sign two more Bilateral Air service Agreements (BASAs) with Malta and South Korea before end of this month.
Signing, ratification and approval of such agreements resonates with President Paul Kagame’s call to all African countries to open their airspaces as a way of boosting the African continental free trade area (AfCFTA).
All the agreement will generally boost Rwanda’s trade with the rest of the world and enhance the national carrier – Rwandair, and the partner States will expect to gain a lot from Rwanda; from tourism to a favorable investment climate.
Signing with Brazil opens to Rwanda a market of a population of over two hundred million Brazilians, tourism potential, exchange of expertise and training especially in agriculture technology where both countries have an existing bilateral agreement.
Similarly, the vast country in the Western part of Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) brings to Rwanda more trade opportunities. DRC is a key importer of Rwanda’s food commodities.
Somalia and Tunisia similarly open landlocked Rwanda to vast trade, technology and tourism opportunities along the Indian and Atlantic coastlines.
Namibia- will open doors for further cooperation between both nations in areas of: Trade and Investment, Mining, Agriculture, Health, Tourism, Peace Keeping and Security, Infrastructure, Energy, ICT, Environment, Culture and Education.