CROSS BORDER TRADE

Kenyan women seek Museveni's help on cross border trade dispute

In Summary

• A group of Kenyan business women have asked Uganda president Yoweri Museveni to intervene and solve challenges on the Kenya-Uganda border trade.

• She said frictionless trade across borders is integral to the growth and development of today’s economy for the two countries.

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni shakes hands with Kenya's WIB CEO and President Mary Muthoni when she led a delegation of business women to discuss Kenya - Uganda cross boarder ties
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni shakes hands with Kenya's WIB CEO and President Mary Muthoni when she led a delegation of business women to discuss Kenya - Uganda cross boarder ties
Image: COURTESY

A group of Kenyan business women have asked Uganda president Yoweri Museveni to intervene and solve challenges on the Kenya-Uganda border trade.

The group led by the CEO and President of Women In Business –WIB, Mary Muthoni said there still exists numerous challenges affecting the cross border trade between the two countries.

Muthoni spoke when she led a delegation of women in talks with Museveni over the cross border ties.

She was accompanied by Uganda's High Commissioner to Kenya Phoebe Otaala

She said frictionless trade across borders is integral to the growth and development of today’s  economy for the two countries.

She said though President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Uganda counterpart Yoweri Museveni have been at the forefront to fostering better trade by removing barriers to promote peace and co-existence for both countries, there lies underneath issues that reflect reality on the ground.

She said over the years WIB has been championing to resolve issues surrounding Financing of Female enterprises, Expansion of market growth and Mentorship.

This has been made easier through Networking and Partnerships.

Some of the Women in Business pause for a photo with President Yoweri Museveni
Some of the Women in Business pause for a photo with President Yoweri Museveni
Image: COURTESY

“Women in Cross Border trading experience myriad challenges not limited to harassment- physical and psychological, Infrastructural, policy, procedural and behavioral constraints  which hinder their ability to grow and formalize,” she said.

She added, “Our Mission is to promote, assist and enhance economic and business development for all our members at both National and County level so as to stimulate wealth at all levels of government’s right from the communities they represent”.

She said though the two heads of state should pump more resources for instance to renovate existing structures such as border offices and market stalls are often dilapidated.

She said currently the trade centres have no toilets, lighting and fencing.

“There is need for the two presidents to put mechanisms in place that will result in a review of the current high customs duties, complex clearance procedures, cumbersome documentary requirements (often featuring centralized permit and licensing systems) along with unpredictable trade policies that contribute to raising trade costs,” Muthoni said.

“We shall strive to blend all women professionals in the Women in Business to find the synergy required to empower and create an expanded economic atmosphere and market for all-inclusive business development,” she added.

In October Kenya and Uganda signed an agreement aimed at promoting sustainable peace and development among Turkana, Pokot and Karamojong communities.

The programme dubbed Cross-Border Sustainable Peace and Development seeks to end hostilities among the three neighboring communities and enhance development in the region by promoting non-violent interactions and collaborations.

The UN supported intervention that will be led by a ministerial committee co-chaired by Kenya and Uganda will be implemented in the region to reduce tensions resulting from access to shared resources such as water and pasture.

 Speaking during the launch ceremony in Moroto town, Uhuru  welcomed the agreement saying it will help spur development in the region which has for many years suffered unnecessary communal conflicts.

"This programme, in cooperation with the UN, is a programme that will help all of us to ensure that we have peace, our people live together and also to enable us develop," he said.

He said the peace and development programme will assist in transforming the border region from a conflict zone to an area of progress, development and wealth.

The delegation of Women in Business that visited Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni
The delegation of Women in Business that visited Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni
Image: COURTESY

The President noted that it is through wealth creation as envisioned in the signed peace and development agreement that the poverty that plague the region can be fought successfully.

"Peace is the foundation of all that is good. Where there's no peace, no development, there's no wealth that can be made. I want to thank President Museveni for the work he has done here to ensure that this region which was a conflict zone is now a region of peace," the President said.

He called for free movement of people, goods and services across borders of African countries saying the continent can't develop without free trade.

"If you don't trade, you cannot create wealth. If you do not move, you cannot create wealth. And if you don't create wealth, all you are doing is institutionalizing poverty. And we want to eliminate poverty from our people," President Kenyatta said.