Thaw in relations rekindles Kenya, Tanzania trade

Saturday April 21 2018

Tanzania President John Magufuli (left) and his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta

Tanzania President John Magufuli (left) and his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta shake hands after addressing a joint press conference in Nairobi on October 31, 2016. Tanzania planning a three-day trade expo in Nairobi. PHOTO | MAGDALENE MUKAMI | NATION 

By VICTOR KIPROP
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After a rough season punctuated by export bans, product seizures and destruction and even the auction of animals, relations between Kenya and Tanzania have recently improved, with Tanzania planning a three-day trade expo in Nairobi.

The first-ever Tanzania exhibition at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre kicks off on April 25 and Tanzanian businesses will be showcasing their products to Kenyans, as the two states move to strengthen their trade ties.

The “Made in Tanzania Week” organised by the Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation and trade organisations in partnership with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance will feature Tanzanian industrial products and services mainly in tourism, technology, agribusiness, culture and craft.

Market linkages

Tanzania’s ambassador to Kenya Dr Pindi Chana said the inaugural exhibition is aimed at promoting products and services Made in Tanzania as part of the implementation of the East African Community Common Market Protocol.

The Protocol, which was signed by the member states in 2010, allows free movement of goods, people, labour, services and capital from each of the six EAC partners.

Tanzania also aims to create market linkages for its products with major retailers, and consumer supply chains and connect producers with their Kenyan counterparts.

According to Dr Chana the exhibition is not only aimed at promoting products and services made in Tanzania but to also strengthening the economic relations between Nairobi, and Dar es Salaam which have deteriorated in recent years.

Kenya’s exports to Tanzania in the 10 months to October 2017 plunged to a 10-year low of $227 million, from $280.2 million from the same period a year earlier, hurt mainly by trade disputes.

Over 2017, Nairobi and Dar squabbled over the 75 per cent tax charged on cigarettes from Kenya and Nairobi’s temporary ban on importation of liquefied petroleum gas through the Namanga border.

The tensions further escalated after the seizure and auction of 1,300 head of cattle after Kenyan herders crossed the border, and incinerating 6,400 day-old chicks in November 2017 and another 5,000 in February this year.

But later that month, Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and John Magufuli closed ranks and directed their ministers to meet and resolve the “small vexing” differences between the two nations.