Kenyan High Commissioner to Rwanda, Philip Mundai Githiora, has re-assured Rwandans, especially the business community, that the upcoming presidential elections will not interfere with the trade flow from Kenya to Rwanda and vice-versa.
The Kenyan port of Mombasa is one of the major trade routes for Rwanda, linking the country to the sea.
In an exclusive interview with The New Times, Githiora assured traders that his country learned from the past and measures have been put in place to ensure free flow of trade along the Northern Corridor.
"Today, there is political maturity and over the course of years, Kenya has built seamless systems that are hinged on regional integration and as a result, trade has taken a centre stage. These are reasons why trade won't be interrupted," he said.
Kenyans will go to polls on August 9 to among other leaders elect a new president that will replace the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta who has served up his two terms.
During the post-election violence that occurred after the 2007 elections in Kenya, goods transiting through the Northern Corridor worth $47.5 million were lost in the violence, and owners are still awaiting compensation.
The Mombasa port serves different countries in the region including Rwanda, Uganda, DR Congo, Burundi, and South Sudan, which underscores Kenya's significance in regional trade.
"Trade has become the center of the East African Community, in fact, the last four times the presidents of Kenya and Rwanda met in this year alone, their conversations always carried an element of trade. It shows how trade is a pivot of the region. I can assure traders that their businesses won't be interrupted by the upcoming elections," said Githiora.
The envoy went on to detail in numbers how the two countries have been trading with each other over the course of years saying that since 2000, Rwanda Development Board recorded 55 Kenyan investors ploughing roughly $400 million into Rwanda while other Kenyan investors have at various points helped Rwanda mobilise close to $1 billion from external sources over the last 15 years.
According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), a leading data visualisation tool for international trade data, during the last 24 years, the exports of Rwanda to Kenya have increased at an annualized rate of 8.15%, from $2.86 million in 1996 to $18.7million in 2020.
The CEO of the East African Business Council, John Bosco Kalisa also told The New Times that in the upcoming Kenyan presidential elections, "there are no indications of violence and truly a lot has changed in the past years. If you read the Kenyan terrain well and how campaigns are going, you can only anticipate a calm environment, that's why I encourage the business community to carry on with their business."
The two front-running candidates in the upcoming Kenyan elections are current Deputy President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
The other two candidates are George Wajackoyah and David Mwaure.
Registered Kenyan voters living in Rwanda will vote from the Kenyan High Commission in Kigali and according to the commission, 1090 will vote from the commission's office.