REGIONAL INTEGRATION

Kenya and Tanzania urged to end differences, facilitate trade

Business community calls for win-win lasting solution

In Summary

•There are over 1000 trucks stranded at both sides of the border.

•A meeting between Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and John Magufuli resolved to address the challenges and allow cross-border trade to continue.

Entry POINT: A billboard gives direction to the Kenya Revenue Authority office at the Namanga border.
Entry POINT: A billboard gives direction to the Kenya Revenue Authority office at the Namanga border.

The East African Business Council(EABC) has called for a speedy resolution to trade barriers between Kenya and Tanzania which have slowed down cross-border trade.

This comes amid recent tension at the two country's' border in the wake of Covid-19 where both states have had to put strict measures to contain the spread of the virus, with Tanzania recently banning Kenyan drivers and goods from accessing its market.

This was a response to Kenya which had stopped passengers but allowed cargo movement between the two countries.

A meeting between Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta(Kenya) and John Magufuli resolved to address the challenges and allow cross-border trade to continue.

They gave directives to their respective ministries to ensure smooth border operations and increased trade between the two countries.

EABC has now urged ministers responsible for transport, health and EAC to convene and find a “win-win lasting solution” to the barriers hindering the free movement of cargo across EAC borders and in particular, the borders between the two countries.

The fourteen (14) days standstill on the movement of goods between Kenya and Tanzania borders risks business continuity and affects intra-EAC trade,” EABC chief executive Peter Mathuki said.

According to the council, there are over 1000 trucks stranded at both sides of the border, which is significantly affecting the intra-EAC trade and movement of essential and perishable goods across borders.

“Furthermore, there is a slow down in movement of cargo across all EAC borders. This is disrupting regional value chains due to the emerging challenges restricting the movement of truck drivers in a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19,” Mathuki said.

Border tension between Kenya and Tanzania has previously threatened to hurt EAC integration. Tanzania is among Kenya's top export destinations.

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data shows that last year, Kenyan exports to  Tanzania grew by 13 per cent to Sh33.9 billion.

Exports included plastics, iron, and steel, machinery, animal and vegetable fats electrical equipment, and vehicles among others. 

Kenya imported cereals, wastes of the food industry, paper and paperboard, beverages, spirits and vinegar from Tanzania.

According to the International Trade Centre, In 2018, Kenya imported products valued at $175.9 million from Tanzania and exports stood at $.293.5 million.

EAC partner states are currently relying on sourcing final products, intermediate input and raw materials within the region due to the disruption of the global supply chain by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Facilitating the free movement of cargo across borders is vital towards the economic recovery of the EAC region during and post Covid-19 pandemic,” EABC said in a statement.