PRESIDENT John Magufuli and his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta have vowed to boost trade between the two countries and support small scale traders last Saturday when they launched the Namanga one-stop border post.
The new border post is aimed at facilitating flow of trade and ease of movement of people and goods within the East African Community (EAC). It is expected that the launch will pave the way for speedy clearance of goods moving between the two countries.
The two leaders said the one-stop border post marks a new dawn of cooperation that will lead to blossoming of trade between the two countries to the benefit of small scale traders.
They cautioned customs and immigration officials at the border post from both countries against engaging in corruption, saying the vice undermined the spirit of the East African Community that focused on free movement of goods and people.
The two Heads of State directed border agencies to facilitate small traders by allowing them to operate freely across the borders as it was discriminating against small traders in favour of big entrepreneurs yet the former were the mainstay of the East African economies.
We share the optimism that the opening of the one-stop border post will mark the new dawn of intra-regional trade between Tanzania and Kenya which is below its potential because of various reasons including the long-standing disputes on tariffs between the two countries.
We are particularly focusing on trade between Tanzania and Kenya as the two are largest economies in the region and studies show the volume of trade between the two states constitutes over 45 per cent of the entire EAC trade and there are cross border investments between Kenya and Tanzania than in any other EAC member states.
It is obvious that what East Africa member states sell within the region would have more value added than what they sell to the rest of the world, which is mostly raw materials. That means intra-regional trade creates more employment in the source country than when we trade with the rest of the world. We look to gain more industrial and value-added jobs because of intra regional trade.
It is against that backdrop, we are looking at our two leaders with a great sense of optimism on flourishing of trade between Tanzania and Uganda to its great potential for the benefit of small scale traders and the East Africans in general.