The East African Business Council (EABC) has commended the diplomatic gesture initiated by Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and his Tanzanian counterpart John Magufuli following the resumption of smooth trade between the two countries.
EABC Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Peter Mathuki, said the agreements struck in the bilateral meeting at Namanga following the presidential talks are commendable as they have reduced the clearance of cargo at the borders.
“The sustainable way to combat COVID-19 as a region is to deploy an East Africa Community coordinated approach to combat the pandemic and also economic recovery strategy. Partners states of EAC working in isolation on COVID-19 will be costly and will take us longer to flatten the curve,” said Dr. Mathuki, who is also a former East Africa Legislative Assembly MP.
A key outcome of the bilateral ministerial meeting is to have truck crews tested before commencement of their journeys at the point of origin using World Health Organization standards and be issued a 14-day COVID-19 free certificate.
Dr. Mathuki also lauded EAC partners for the increased intra-trade in the community as member states have taken to sourcing final products and raw materials within the region in wake of the disruption of the global supply chain.
“The EABC appreciates President John Magufuli of Tanzania and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya for reiterating their commitment to the EAC regional integration agenda,” said Dr. Mathuki.
It was President Kenyatta who called on the phone his Tanzanian counterpart as the trade tiff between the two neighbours escalated over COVID-19 testing at the borders.
Government officials from both countries met at Namanga on May 22, where they resolved to facilitate a seamless cross-border movement of goods to end the stand-off that had led to sanctions imposed on both sides.
Kenya and Tanzania are trade partners with a turnover of over Sh53 billion annually, according to Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia.
Speaking after the meeting, Dr. Mathuki said that the Namanga one-stop border post remains a strategic entry point for East and Central Africa and termed the diplomatic intervention a positive gesture.