NAIROBI, (The Southern African Times) – Kenya and Tanzania on Tuesday agreed to abolish barriers hindering the smooth flow of trade and people between the two neighboring countries.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and visiting Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan said a joint team of experts will be set up to address the disjointed enforcement of cross-border COVID-19 containment protocols, one of the most pronounced non-tariff trade barriers between the two nations.
“First, we noted that trade between Kenya and Tanzania is facing some administrative challenges. They include non-tariff barriers and other restrictions which are frustrating trade and investment between our two countries,” Kenyatta said in a statement issued after holding a bilateral meeting in Nairobi.
The two leaders noted that the two countries need to develop modalities for mutual recognition of COVID-19 test results, noting that the lack of harmonized protocols has hampered free flow of goods and people.
“We have agreed that our health ministers need to sit down and come up with a structured system of testing our people at the border points to allow easy movement of our people so as to do their businesses,” President Hassan told journalists in Nairobi.
Hassan’s state visit came at a time when the two neighboring countries are working closely to deepen ties in the area of trade and people-to-people relations including the private sector, arts, culture, wildlife matters, tourism and cooperation at the continental and multilateral levels.
Kenyatta said Kenya and Tanzania agreed to rearrange their Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) to enable it to deal with issues affecting trade, adding that the two countries had agreements on importation of natural gas from Tanzania to Kenya, and another on cultural exchanges.
They directed the ministers to meet regularly to ensure that they continue strengthening relations by sorting out minor problems affecting the people as they do business and interact with each other.
They said the JCC needs to ensure that investors coming from either Tanzania or Kenya do not face hurdles by making sure a structured system is put in place to help build the two countries for the mutual benefit of their people.
Kenyatta said Kenya and Tanzania agreed to improve their connectivity through new roads, aviation and maritime transport so as to hasten economic growth.
The two countries also agreed to build a gas pipeline from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to Mombasa in coastal Kenya that will lower energy costs in Kenya and help industries to access environmental friendly energy.
Hassan, who arrived in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, Tuesday morning to begin her two-day visit, is scheduled to address a joint sitting of Kenya’s bicameral parliament Wednesday.