Traders and clearing agents have welcomed the initiative by Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) and other government agencies to implement 24-hour operations at Rusumo on the Rwanda-Tanzania border. The facility will also work as one stop border post (OSBP), according to RRA officials.
The local business community says the move will greatly boost cross-border trade and reduce transit time.
Raphael Tugirumuremyi, the RRA Commissioner of customs, said the border will effective October 2 start 24-hour operations, adding that the move was agreed on by Heads of States of Rwanda and Tanzania during official opening of the facility last year. Read more. Source | New Times
East African Community partner states have made progress in the elimination of non-tariff barriers (NTBs), doing away with 116 of these in the past eight years.
Between 2009 to May 2017, they have also introduced 20 new ones and resolved three, while 17 remain unresolved.
Burundi is the only partner that did not impose any NTB on goods originating from the EAC in the past six months, a new NTB time-bound elimination report shows. Read more. Source | East African
Sometime last year when a group of Kenyan traders accused Tanzania of making their goods too expensive in its market by collecting the Railway Development Levy (RDL) on them, few bureaucrats paid much attention to the complaints.
Kenya was the first country to introduce the RDL in 2013, which is collected at the rate of 1.5 per cent on home-bound imports.Through their lobby, the East African Business Council, the region’s traders successfully talked the government out of the tax in 2014 — which they had labelled as one of the non-tariff barriers of the time. Read more. Source | Business Daily
Private sector executives in Kenya, led by Hub grantee the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), have petitioned Parliament to amend a number of laws that have continued to hinder business transactions in the country and the region.
During a session in parliament, KEPSA proposed the application of a ‘common market test’ that seeks to ensure that the Kenyan parliament does not pass trade and investment-limiting laws. Application of a common market test to all new legislation will ensure that no trade and investment-restricting measures exist in those laws. New MPs were further sensitized to the fact that domestic improvements to complying with the EAC Common Market Protocol are an important start for Kenya to similarly request reforms in other EAC Partner States when Kenya's trade and investment interests are affected.
Recently, KEPSA finalized peer-to-peer meetings with Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) where they developed a joint memorandum of reform issues to further remove trade and investment obstacles between the two countries. This memorandum was a result of peer-to-peer dialogue covering several sectors connected with the movement of capital, services and goods and involved both Kenyan and Tanzanian companies affected by measures imposed by the two countries, particularly in view of the recent trade disputes between the two neighbors. This joint memorandum is currently being shared with respective ministers responsible for trade and investment in the two countries.
The Hub works with KEPSA to strengthen private sector abilities to identify key policy inhibitors to:
- Implement the EAC Common Market Protocol
- Improve on private sector capabilities to develop reform memoranda
- Engage in dialogue for legal, regulatory and administrative reforms.
The Hub and KEPSA partnership creates new private sector opportunities and boost regional trade.
Leaders (think-tanks in this vein) have thought of coming together to form joint blocs to help them address the challenges, but a prominent Nigerian ScholarChinua Achebe has begged to know if the war would be won if individual member states still treat each other with suspicion through a character he calls Okwonkwo asking his brothers a question that ‘how can we fight a common enemy if my own brothers have turned against me?’
This is the typical picture each member state ought to address to uplift young brother like South Sudan now facing famine, civil strife, poor infrastructures and others in their East Africa Community (EAC). Read more. Source | Daily News
African continent is set to fast track continental free trade area early next year to create single market for goods and services.
Head, of Trade Division in the African Union Commission Mr Nadir Merah said in Dar es Salaam yesterday at the threeday-workshop that the initiative focuses at improving Africa’s competitiveness in the global economy.
“We need to fast track free trade areas as soon as possible. Towards end of January next year, we will present to the heads of the states the final paper on the initiative,” he said adding that the workshop seeks to discuss ways to improve communications and information systems on business and finance. Read more. Source | Daily News
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) secretary General, Sindiso Ngwenya has urged member states to fast track harmonisation of policies in the mining industry to make the sector more competitive and profitable.
According to Ngenya, the sector’s potential can only be sustainably harnessed through establishment of governance structures and leveraging on the existing multinational trade agreements.
Ngwenya told The New Times that sound institutional frameworks will enable COMESA’s national and sub-national governments to have a say in decisions regarding the use of the resources located in their territories including minerals if they harmonise policies regulating the sector. Read more. Source | New Times
Tanzania and Kenya have agreed to end the trade barriers at the borders in afresh bid to improve bilateral cooperation and investment.
This was said on Saturday September 9, in Dar es Salaam by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industries, Trade and Investment, Prof Adolf Mkenda,at the end of talks involving senior leaders from the two countries. Read more. Source | The Citizen
Traffic on the global payments network Swift has grown by 20.1% in East Africa over the past year, indicating an increase in trade flows with and within the region.
East Africa has outperformed the total growth for Swift globally, which amounts to 8.2%.
The figures released by Swift this week also show that intra-regional traffic in the region is up by 19.8% compared to 2015, now accounting for 69% of payments traffic in East Africa. Read more. Source | Global Trade Review
nternational organisations such as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Monetary Fund affirm that for sustainable and collective growth to happen in a globalised era, large African economies must remove the walls separating them from the continent’s underdeveloped economies.
According to UNCTAD’s 2016 report African Continental Free Trade Area: Advancing Pan-African Integration, regional integration is needed to further technology and economic innovation in Africa. Read more. Source | Biz Community