(Bloomberg) -- Qatar Airways is set to finalize its purchase of a major stake in RwandAir as early as next month, the Financial Times reported, citing senior executives close to the negotiations.

The partnership would boost the central African country’s aviation sector and allow RwandAir to expand its operations and fleet, tapping into Qatar Airways’ network and expertise, said RwandAir’s chief executive Yvonne Makolo, according to the newspaper. Qatar Airways declined to comment, the FT said.

Qatar and Rwanda have been working for five years on a deal, which has been delayed in part by the Covid-19 pandemic and Qatar hosting the Fifa World Cup, according to the newspaper. Intra-African passenger traffic is set to more than quadruple over the next 20 years, the FT cites projections by Boeing.

Bloomberg News reported in February 2020 that Qatar Airways planned to purchase a 49% stake in Rwanda’s national carrier.

--With assistance from Kamlesh Bhuckory.

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