Thursday, February 11, 2010

Businessman to Fly African Flags On Space Trip

by Staff Writers
Nairobi (AFP) Feb 9, 2010

A Dubai-based businessman who has signed up to be a spacetourist said Tuesday he planned to fly the flags of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda on his out-of-world journey in honour of his childhood in Africa.

Real estate magnate Ashish Thakkar was in Nairobi to receive a Kenyan flag from Prime Minister Raila Odinga ahead of a space voyage expected next year.

"I feel honoured that I will be the first to take Kenya's flag into space," said Thakkar, 28.

"I believe Kenya can use this historic trip to market itself internationally. I want to boost Kenya's image abroad," he said.

Thakkar, co-founder of the international Kensington Group real estate agency, is among 40 people who have paid 200,000 dollars for a trip on Richard Branson'scommercial rocket plane SpaceShipTwo.

He was born in Britain but spent 15 years of his childhood in Africa before his family returned to Britain. He has been in Dubai for the past eight years.

Thakkar has already received the Tanzanian flag from President Jakaya Kikwete and is due to also meet Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who will hand him the country's flag.

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