NAIROBI, KENYA, APR 26 — The Tanzanian and Kenya business community have called for renewed business partnerships that will allow free movement of goods into either countries, while encouraging cross-border investments.
This comes at the height of the three day – “Tanzania Week in Kenya” exhibition and business to business meeting being held in Nairobi, which ends on Friday.
Led by the Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TanTrade), the Tanzania business community wants removal of non-tariff barriers that are still hindering market access for products from either countries.
“Tanzania is ready to give the much needed information on how to invest in Tanzania. We encourage Kenyan manufacturers to bring their technology to Tanzania to support industrial growth,” TanTrade Director General Edwin Rutageruka said during the Nairobi event.
Deputy minister, Ministry of Trade and Industry(Zanzibar) Hassan Hafidh said the two governments should continue enhancing intra-regional trade for an equal benefit of their economies.
He termed the recent move by President John Magufuli and Kenya’s President Uhuru’s Kenyatta directive to clear trade barriers as positive.
The two directed their ministers to meet quickly to resolve small inconvenient differences between the two countries.
“We have small issues relating to businesses and traders between Kenya and Tanzania. We want ministers to meet urgently and resolve these issues. These are small matters that should be resolved quickly. As leaders, we don’t have a problem,” President Magufuli said.
President Kenyatta said the “small matters require urgent attention”.
The two met at the Lake Victoria resort of Munyonyo, on the outskirts of the Ugandan capital Kampala, in February, where they attended the 19th EAC Heads of State Summit.
“I call on our people both in Tanzania and Kenya to intensify bi-lateral trade. The stage is set what is needed is for us to play active roles to ensure trade grows,” Hafidh said during the Nairobi meet.
“It is time now for Kenya and Tanzania to open up. We are tired of seeing products from other markets in Tanzania and Kenya when our own are not doing well. We can support each other’s products and grow our economies,” he added.
Tanzania High Commissioner to Kenya (Nairobi) Pindi Chana said the two countries have enjoyed a good diplomatic relationship which has continued to grow year-on-year.
She called on the business communities from each side to foster for more partnership and joint ventures assuring of her governments’ support.
Kenyan Ambassador to Tanzania (appointee) Dan Kazungu said: “It is time we see Tanzania businesses grow in Kenya and vice versa. This will create employment and uplift the lives of our people in the East Africa Community.”
Kenya’s Agriculture and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri called for increased partnership in the spirit of the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), signed by African heads of state in Kigali on March 21.
“These imaginary boundaries have created barriers. We need to open our borders for free movement of people and goods,” Kiunjuri said, assuring the Tanzanian business community that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration is pro-business and regional growth.
He said a delegation from Kenya will proceed to Tanzania next year to showcase Kenyan products and pitch for business.
“We have no other way but to come together. If there is no unity, other predators will come and exploit us. They are happy when we are not together,” Kiunjuri said.
The Tanzania in Kenya week brought more than 35 Tanzanian companies and businesses to Kenya to show case their products and deepen trade ties.
The companies are mainly from the construction, hospitality, manufacturing, oil and gas and agribusiness sectors.
The forum has received the endorsement of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance.
The Tanzania Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation in implementation of the country’s Foreign Policy that focuses on Economic Diplomacy, is seeking to pursue wider and broader markets opportunities for the country’s industrial products in the EAC starting with Kenya.