21 March 2018

East Africa: Lack of Info Barrier to East Africa Trade

Nairobi — Lack of information to traders is a major hindrance to cross border trade in East Africa.

The anomaly has also left big loopholes for corruption to the detriment of business as they endeavor to move their goods from one state to another.

"Traders always struggle to find information regarding the goods and services allowed for cross border transactions but without much success", said, Mr David Kipkemei, the commissioner for Kajiado County bordering Tanzania.

He challenged the leaders of the East African Community (EAC) partner states to urgently address barriers hampering cross border trade in the region.

"One of the major non-tariff barriers (NTBs) impeding trade across East Africa is lack of information", he said during a sensitization meeting on One Stop Border Post (OSBP) between officials of the two countries over the weekend.

The Arusha regional commissioner, Mr Mrisho Gambo echoed this, saying establishment of the jointly operated OSBPs could be a solution to the problem.

"OSBP has made a big difference for citizens crossing national borders within the EAC by simplifying customs and Immigration processes," he said.

Namanga, a busy border town between Tanzania and Kenya, is one of the dozen-plus designated border posts established to accelerate cross border movement of human traffic as well as goods and services.

Mr Gambo and his Kajiado counterpart were in the border town as well as Longido and Kajiado (Kenya) to sensitize the business community as well as the general public on the cross border procedures under the new facility.

Although the facility has been operational since last year, its official opening is slated for April 20th, this year according to sources close to the EAC secretariat.

Nevertheless, Mr. Gambo said its operationalization has tremendously spurred intra-regional trade through increased movement of goods and services across the borders.

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