EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY

Suluhu, Uhuru should reopen single market

In Summary

• Tanzanian President Suluhu Hassan arrives in Kenya today for a two-day state visit

• Tanzania and Kenya have obstructed each other from pursuing the dream of East African economic integration

President Samia Suluhu inspects a guard of honour
President Samia Suluhu inspects a guard of honour
Image: STATE HOUSE TANZANIA

Tanzanian President Suluhu Hassan arrives in Nairobi today for a two-day state visit at the invitation of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

President Suluhu reactivated the Joint Permanent Commission between the two countries when CS Amina Mohamed went to Tanzania in April. That was a giant step towards revitalising bilateral relations.

But more needs to be done. Today the single market of the East African Community is dysfunctional. All member states share the blame but each can take specific actions to rectify the situation.

For its part, Kenya has blocked agricultural imports from Tanzania and Uganda to protect Kenyan farmers. These non-tariff trade barriers have prevented cheaper maize, wheat, eggs, milk and other agricultural products from being imported into Kenya. 

Tanzania for its part has been reluctant to issue work permits to Kenyans although they should be automatic in the common market.

President Suluhu's visit offers an opportunity to reopen the East African common market. Each country will do well in some sectors but lose in others. But overall both countries will become better off with bigger markets and economies of scale. Let both presidents make some big gestures towards economic integration during this visit.

Quote of the day: "One day's life as a lion is preferable to a hundred years as a jackal."

Tipu Sultan
The Indian leader was killed by a besieging British army on May 4, 1799