Kenya and Tanzania have agreed to scale up joint onslaughts against poaching, terrorism and drug trafficking.
Elephant and rhino poaching has become a big concern in East Africa, affecting tourism which is a key foreign exchange earner.
Experts estimate Africa’s elephant population has fallen by more than 60 per cent over the past decade. More than 30,000 elephants are killed every year in Africa, many of them to meet demand for ivory from Asian nations.
Most seized savannah elephant tusks came from a region spanning parts of southeastern Tanzania and northern Mozambique.
Drug trafficking is also a growing concern in East Africa following recent huge seizures. The region is largely a transit point to other parts of Africa and beyond.
Further, terrorism is a big threat in the region due to active cells such as the Somalia-based Al -Shaabab which has claimed responsibility for recent bloody attacks in Kenya and Uganda.
“We agreed to scale up cooperation in the war against terrorism, drug trafficking and poaching,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said Monday following bilateral talks with his visiting Tanzania counterpart Jakaya Kikwete at State House, Nairobi.
Mr Kikwete is on his last official visit to Kenya as his term in office comes to an end with a General Election in the neighbouring country slated for October 25.
The Tanzania President is expected to address a joint siting of Parliament this afternoon. Mr Kikwete and his host on Sunday launched the 90-kilometre Arusha-Holili/Taita Taveta-Mwatate road in Taita Taveta.
The key road is expected to boost the volume of cross-border trade between Kenya and Tanzania by 50 per cent once completed, Mr Kikwete said. It is being co-funded by African Development Bank, Kenya and the Tanzanian governments.
The visit by Mr Kikwete coincides with the start of the second meeting of the fourth session of the third assembly of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) in Nairobi.
EALA Speaker Daniel Kidega said the assembly is in Nairobi to transact several businesses key among them the passage of three Bills.
“The notable business for consideration during the two week period will comprise a special address –more or less a farewell address by Mr Kikwete as outgoing President of United Republic of Tanzania and chair of the summit of East African Community (EAC) heads of State,” Kidega said.
The EALA members will debate the EAC Electronic Transactions Bill, 2014, the EAC Forest Management and Protection Bill 2015 and the EAC Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Bill, 2015.