Kenya and Tanzania have ended their long-running trade hostilities and lifted restrictions on some products.
Among the products that had heightened the animosity between the two countries in the recent past are cooking gas. Kenya banned its importation from Tanzania, citing quality issues.
Kenya had also imposed a ban on wheat from Tanzania and the latter retaliated by banning exportation of unprocessed foods, milk products, and cigarettes.
But yesterday Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and her Tanzanian counterpart, Augustine Mahiga, announced a compromise that would see either side lift trade restrictions.
Following the announcement at a press conference in Nairobi, Tanzanian traders, who last week complained that they had made 'massive losses' - can now export liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) into Kenya.
Kenya also lifted restrictions on wheat flour coming in from Tanzania and the latter said it would reciprocate by lifting the ban on milk products and cigarettes from Kenya.
The announcement ended months of losses for businesses on both sides of the border that had not been able to get access to some of their markets due to the restrictions.
“The Republic of Kenya will lift import restriction on wheat flour and LPG from Tanzania with immediate effect,” said a joint statement by Kenya and Tanzania read by Mr Mahiga.
“The United Republic of Tanzania will lift restriction on milk and milk products and cigarettes manufactured in Kenya with immediate effect.”
The ministers said the decision was reached after discussions between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Tanzania’s John Magafuli as well as two meetings between Ms Mohamed and Mahiga - one in Dar es Salaam and a second one in Nairobi yesterday. Mahiga added that the two states would “lift any other restrictions that affected products and services exchanged between the two countries".
The two countries also formed a multi-agency committee to be made up of government officials from either side to resolve what CS Mohamed termed 'important and weighty bilateral issues'.
“The committee will be chaired by the two ministers of Foreign Affairs and will compromise the ministries of EAC, trade, finance, interior, energy, agriculture, transport, tourism and will incorporate other key government agencies as the need arises,” said Ms Mohamed.
The Energy Ministry had said LPG from Tanzania was adulterated, but the CS said the issues that had resulted in the restrictions had been resolved.