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First ever Arabic website launched in Nairobi

By Abuga Makori in Nairobi , Garowe Online

NAIROBI, Kenya - Arabs and Muslims living in Kenya will henceforth receive news and information in the language they understand, thanks to the recently launched website.

Communication barrier has been a major impediment to growth, partly affecting foreign exchange due to misunderstandings, authorities had said.

An anglophone nation so to speak, most of the public information in Kenya is usually delivered in English or the native Swahili, which does not necessarily reflect cultural diversity.

Website the first-ever in Kenya

But Arab scholars on Saturday launched the first-ever website, which will also serve the growing Muslim population in Kenya, Aden Duale said.

"Kenya in Arabic is news & information site that seeks to promote Kenya in the Arab, and Muslim world in areas of tourism, cultural exchange programs," he said.

Investment, education, health, people to people communication will also be the major focus of the new website, the National Assembly Majority Leader said.

Arabs are some of the early inhabitants of Kenya, occupying mostly the Indian Ocean coastline. They once ruled Mombasa and Lamu Islands.

Further, the language is popular among Kenya's 20 percent Muslim population and thousands of immigrants and visitors from the Arab world.

Website to relay information

The website, Duale added, will bridge the gap by single-handedly feeding the population with local content in the Arabic language.

Dual, who hails from Garissa, said: "it will be easier to find information about Kenya social, economic, investment and tourism sectors."

Present during the launching ceremony were Qatar ambassador to Kenya, Jabor Bin Al-Dosari, Yemeni Head of Mission to Kenya Abdul Salam A. Alawadhi.

Others include Head of Islamic Affairs Unit at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Ryan Abdul Karim Fatta, Al Fadhil Hamid Omar, rep. from the Sudan embassy and Arabic scholars.

Arab community in Kenya

This comes amid increasing calls by President Uhuru Kenyatta to embrace ethnic and cultural diversity in the heterogeneous population of Kenya.

While the Arabs are yet to be incorporated as part of Kenya's 43 tribes, plans are underway to recognize the community to boost integration, Uhuru said.

Also, the new website would also assist in relaying information from Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Qatar.

But most fundamental, the site would provide a link between Kenya and the Arab world to boost trade and international ties, Duale said.

The tourism sector in Kenya

Kenya's GDP greatly relies on tourism, with also 3.5 percent of revenue being generated from the sector annually, Treasury said.

"This site will attract investors & tourists to Kenya by providing information on opportunities available in our country," added Duale.

"These may include information on corporate tax, investment opportunities, and the kind of businesses Arab and Muslim firms can do in Kenya, and places to visit."

Arab contractors are also key in fixing Kenya's infrastructure and are associated with many roads construction and consultancy.