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Tanzania's Samia Suluhu Hassan will invigorate regional trade

OPINION
By Chris Diaz | May 7th 2021

During her two-day State visit to Kenya, President Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania assured businesses in the region of a conducive operating environment in her country.

Among the assurances include the elimination of non-tariff barriers (NTBs), irregular taxation and stringent work permit requirements.

In her speech to the regional business community in Nairobi on Wednesday, President Suluhu emphasised the need to support the private sector to realize not just enhanced trade ties but also improve economies and livelihoods in the region.

President Suluhu said that her government was undertaking a review of the regulatory environment, including reforms targeted at government agencies anchoring trade.

Her host, President Uhuru Kenyatta, deserves thanks for extending leadership and his support for the renewed vigour for trade, including his pronouncements on the removal of work permits and visas for Tanzanians doing business in Kenya.

At the same time, President Kenyatta called for the decongestion of the Kenya-Tanzania border, including a complete lift on restriction on maize imports and the harmonization of Covid-tests and clearance for truckers.

For the business community, the renewed vigour for cooperation sets the stage for greater intra-East Africa trade.

The East Africa Business Council (EABC) has previously lamented the low levels of intra-trade which currently sit below 20 per cent of the region’s total trade volume.

The council argues the elimination of the NTBs will be a principal factor in the elevation of intra-trade.

Further, the business community looks towards the building of regional supply chains and value addition in sectors such as manufacturing and the strengthening of the EAC Secretariat.

With Kenya at the helm of the EAC leadership, a Ugandan President keen on integration and, now, a fresh breath of air in the person of Samia Suluhu, EAC bilateral relations are set for a new lift-off, hopefully, this time, to the moon.

The private sector and investors look forward to stronger regional integration and creating innovative new products and services besides increasing trade between the two nations.

This will create much needed new employment and entrepreneurship business.

-Chris Diaz, Director EABC and Group Director Bidco Africa

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