Presidential initiatives improve regional trade

Friday March 20 2015

By Monitor correspondent

Nairobi. Trade and volumes of roaming mobile calls across East Africa have increased following initiatives by four presidents to further open up the region.
According to the National Coordinator for Kenya in the Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority, Mr Joseph Nyaga, the volume of voice calls across Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, had gone up by over 1,000 per cent.
Time taken to clear cargo at the port of Mombasa had also reduced, as well as movement of cargo by road from the Kenyan port to Kampala and Kigali.
“The four presidents of (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda) commissioned the report to assess the progress made since efforts were started to ease movement of goods and people in the region,” he said.
Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania) meet every two months to assess the progress made, and make decisions to speed up the growth of trade and integration.
Other initiatives that have opened up the region include a common market protocol that allows easier movement of people, as only an identity card is required to cross borders, issuance of the East African tourist visa, and the creation of one network area where roaming mobile call charges have been standardised.