Ruto yearns to expand Dodoma-Nairobi ties

NEWLY-elected Kenya President William Ruto has said his country is looking forward to expanding its cooperation with Tanzania on trade, agriculture and security.

Dr Ruto also assured of the continued commitment of working together in the spirit of East African Community (EAC) for the best interest of the two sides.

The Kenyan leader made the statement on his tweet @WilliamsRuto shortly after he met with President Samia at his Karen office in Nairobi.

The meeting was held shortly before Dr Ruto took oath of office on Tuesday at Moi Kasarani International Sports Centre, in Nairobi.

“We will expand our engagement with Tanzania on trade, agriculture, security among other areas of interest, besides working together in the spirit of the East African Community for our mutual gain,” said President Ruto in a tweet.

President Samia was among nine African Heads of State who attended the inauguration of Dr Ruto to the helm of government of Kenya, assuring the neighbouring country of Tanzania’s continued commitment to further strengthen the existing ties for social and economic gains in both parts.

Speaking at the Moi Kasarani International Sports Centre, Ms Samia congratulated the people of Kenya, for awarding peace to the East African Community (EAC).

She said Kenyans have demonstrated the maturity of democracy by completing the election safely.

However, she urged Kenyans to shift their focus now to the development of their country, as the election is over and they have got leaders through democratic process.

She also assured Kenyans of Tanzania’s sincere commitment to work more closely in bringing joint social and economic development for the EAC.

As part of efforts to strengthen economic bilateral diplomacy, the two countries have been taking a number of efforts to smoothen business and interaction among Tanzanians and Kenyans.

In this regard, the two countries have been working hard to eliminate a number of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) hampering mutual understating and cross border business.

In August 2021, Tanzania and Kenya held the fourth session of the Joint Commission for Cooperation to strengthen and enhance trade between the two partner states.

It was agreed at the session that of the 64 challenges raised regarding trade, both parties would commit to resolving 34 remaining issues before the end of December 2021.

The 30 NTBs resolved include customs clearance on soft drinks, removal of inspection fees on processed products with a standardisation mark and the grant of preferential treatment to Tanzanian cement, Tanzania and Kenyan juice and wheat flour.

Available statistics from the East African Business Council (EABC) has it that bilateral trade between Tanzania and Kenya was recorded at 905.5 million US dollars in the first 11 months of last year.

Records indicate that total trade between the two states for January to November 2021 trade picked up, enough signs of measures taken on long standing trade disputes.

Tanzania exports to Kenya stood at 501 million US dollars and imported 403.9 million US dollars during the period, which followed President Samia’s official visit to Nairobi last year.

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