RwandAir in partnership with Qatar Airways have launched a new African cargo hub aimed to boost trade within the continent and across overseas markets. ALSO READ: First RwandAir cargo plane arrives The official launch of the Kigali Cargo Hub was marked with the arrival of a new Qatar Airways Cargo Boeing 777x freighter welcomed with a splash of a water cannon salute, on May 3. The initiative is in line with developing Kigali into a regional cargo powerhouse to boost exports and imports around Africa and strengthen links with key overseas markets. The partnership saw Qatar Aviation Services (QAS) provide consultancy support to RwandAir Cargo to help improve its already highly successful cargo handling performance. ALSO READ: Why Qatar Airways is investing in RwandAir Yvonne Makolo, CEO of RwandAir, said the new Kigali Cargo Hub will open up new cargo opportunities across Africa. “Africa is home to a hugely diverse economy, with businesses and entrepreneurs looking for better connections to create new markets and expand inward investment. Together, we have created a fantastic new facility to meet this growing demand across Africa.” ALSO READ: RwandAir, Qatar Airways sign codeshare agreement Guillaume Halleux, Qatar Airways Chief Officer of Cargo, highlighted that investment in logistics and infrastructure is key in unleashing Africa’s economic potential. He said the partnership was ideal since Qatar and Rwanda enjoy strong bilateral trade agreements as tracked with other projects involving Qatar Airways and Qatar Investment Authority. “Our customers will benefit from both a reliable intra-African network through our Kigali hub, as well as enhanced service levels and cost synergies. We are proud to partner with RwandAir in establishing Kigali as the Central African hub in preparation for the Next Generation of air cargo on this fast-growing continent.” The development of the hub was backed by Bolloré, a French conglomerate specialising in logistics, by providing around 30 per cent of the baseload on Qatar Airways Cargo’s freighters. This first cargo hub outside Qatar is expected to create a three to five per cent annual economic growth forecast for the continent over the next decade.