11 October 2012

Tanzania Signs Border Treaty With Kenya

Photo: Luba Freeport
Dock workers handle containers at an African port.

Kenya and Tanzania have agreed to boost their cross border trade. The two countries reached an agreement on open border operations that will see traders move freely as one of the measures to strengthen the East African Community.

The agreement will allow the traders to run their businesses on a 24-hour basis.

A joint border meeting between the Kenyan minister for East African Community Musa Sirma and his Tanzanian counterpart, Samuel Sitta on Tuesday announced the two governments had laid out strategies to ease the traders' movement.

The the two ministers signed a treaty that provides for the removal of all existing non-tariff barriers on the importation of goods from other partner states.

"I have directed the provincial administration to convene monthly meetings to discuss how small-scale traders including bodaboda operators will carry out their activities across the border without any interruptions," said Sitta.

The news comes at a time when Kenyan traders have been lamenting over harassment whenever they go to trade in Tanzania.

The traders told the meeting that Tanzanian authorities put up many trade barriers which are resulting to heavy loses on their businesses.

"Small scale traders from Taveta incur heavy losses whenever they go to trade in Tanzania due to the many trade barriers they impose on us. They impose several illegal taxes and sometimes confiscate our passports," lamented Victoria Bili a trader from Taveta.

Sitta said that plans are being mooted to ensure smooth trade between the two countries. "Now traders will no longer be required to produce yellow fever immunization certificates.Traders will be free to trade not only up to Holili border point but they can go as far as the Himo market," he said.

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