Kenya has started talks with Japan over the introduction of direct flights between Nairobi and Tokyo. Speaking at a Kenya-Japan investment forum in Nairobi on Wednesday, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said direct flights between Tokyo and Nairobi would boost business between the two countries.

“We are currently negotiating with Japan for direct flights between Tokyo and Nairobi. Introduction of direct flights between the two countries would be a great boost to trade and tourism,” she said.

Kenya is also targeting a piece of the Sh3.2 trillion ($32 billion) in Japanese commitments towards investment and development assistance to Africa that was pledged last year.

The business forum between Japanese investors, the Kenya government and private sector officials was a follow-up of the bilateral meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Uhuru Kenyatta held in in Tokyo earlier this year.

Kenya is keen to attract more Japanese investors into the country with an eye on some of the major investment projects in infrastructure, energy, oil and gas as it seeks to realise growth blueprint Vision 2030.

“This is the first time that we have had such a large contingent of Japanese business people in Kenya. It is a sign of better things ahead for Kenya-Japan business relations,” Ms Mohammed said.

Japanese ambassador to Kenya Tatsushi Terada said Japan is keen to promote trade and investment in Kenya.

“Japan is deeply and actively committed to support the development of trade in African countries based on the idea that it is extremely important for countries to develop their capacity to export, thereby obtaining their fair share of benefits of the free trade system,” Ambassador Terada said.

Kenya will next year host the next Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) summit, the first in sub-Sahara Africa.