East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 1st December, 2018: Tanzanian President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli and his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta today commissioned the Namanga One Stop Border Post on the Kenya/Tanzania border.
The two Heads of State directed border agencies to facilitate small traders by allowing them to operate freely across the borders instead of using threats to demand bribes from them.
The two Presidents said that it was unkind for border agencies to discriminate against small traders in favour of big entrepreneurs yet the former were the mainstay of the East African economies.
“We as governments are here to facilitate the people of our two countries to do business. We are not in the business of doing business,” said President Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta, however, warned that operating freely across the borders was not a blank cheque for engaging illegal business activities like smuggling, gun-running, drug-trafficking and trading in wildlife parts. He urged business people to obey the law by engaging in lawful business only.
In his remarks, President Magufuli said that one the major obstacles to cross border trade in Africa was the lack of trade facilitation, citing numerous delays at the ports, national borders and checkpoints on the roads.
President Magufuli cited a World Bank report which indicates that lack of trade facilitation increases the costs of doing business in Africa by 75%. This had hindered intra-continental trade in Africa making it lag behind other continents on this parameter.
He said that the EAC had therefore embarked on the construction of 15 One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) across the region so as to promote intra-regional trade. President Magufuli said that the completion and operationalization of the OSBPs had come with benefits especially for travellers, tourists and traders by reducing the amount of time they spent at the border.
President Magufuli noted that the operationalization of the Namanga OSBP had seen revenues on the Tanzanian side rise from TShs3 billion to TShs4.8 billion in the 2017/2018 Financial Year, adding that it was projected to increase to TShs5.8 billion in the current Financial Year.
The Tanzanian Head of State said that the OSBPs were supposed to be a catalyst for trade and warned border officials against defeating this purpose by engaging in corruption in the OSBPs.
The Heads of State further called for increased investment and trade between the two countries which they described as made of people who shared a common history, cultures and languages, adding that people from the two countries were therefore not enemies.
“We should break down the borders drawn by our former colonial powers. East Africans are one people,” said President Kenyatta. President Magufuli said Kenya was the third biggest investor in Tanzania after the United Kingdom and South Africa, and called on Tanzanian entrepreneurs as well to invest in Kenya and other EAC countries.
The two presidents thanked the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Government of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for funding the construction of the Arusha-Namanga-Athi River road.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Gabriel Negatu, the Director General of the AfDB’s Eastern Africa Regional Hub, disclosed that the Bank would finance the construction of the Malindi-Mombasa-Lunga Lunga/Horohoro-Tanga-Bagamoyo Highway at the cost of US$322 million.
The Federal Republic of Germany has also provided support to the EAC Secretariat on the operationalization of the OSBPs in particular through substantial technical cooperation. The German financed “AU Border Programme at the EAC” has supported the EAC Secretariat through GIZ to develop and validate the EAC regional training curriculum on OSBPs aimed at building the technical capacity of border agencies to better manage border crossing points in a more secured, coordinated and efficient manner.
A Training of Trainers on the OSBP regional curriculum was conducted with over three hundred officers at 12 OSBPs trained in the past two years. This year, the programme supported an assessment of the operationalisation of OSBPs and the impact of border management in the regional integration agenda as well as the development of the EAC e-immigration policy.
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
To date out of the 15 border posts earmarked to operate as OSBPs, 12 have been completed while 10 are now operational. The completed and operational OSBPs are Gasenyi/Nemba, Ruhwa, Rusumo, Holili/Taveta, Kagitumba/Mirama Hills, Mutukula, Kabanga/Kobero, Malaba, Busia and Namanga. The completed but non-operational OSBPs are Lunga Lunga/Horohoro and Isebania/Sirare. Those that have not been constructed are Katuna/Katuna, Kanyaru/Akanyaru and Mugina Mannyovu.
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About the East African Community Secretariat:
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
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22 November 2018: The Boards of Directors of the African Development Bank Group have approved US$322.35 million loans and grant to Burundi and Tanzania to finance the Rumonge-Gitaza (45 km) and Kabingo-Kasulu-Manyovu (260 km) road upgrading project.
The project aims at strengthening regional integration and trade in the East African Community, particularly between Tanzania and Burundi through improved cross-border transport and is part of the East African roads network linking the Port of Dar es Salaam to the regional markets in Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
To be completed in 2023, the project comprises several phases, including the upgrading from gravel to bitumen standard of Kabingo-Kasulu-Manyovu (260 km) road section in Tanzania and rehabilitation of Rumonge – Gitaza (45 km) paved road section in Burundi. It also involves the construction and operationalization of a One Stop Border Post between Tanzania and Burundi at Manyovu/Mugina Border; Rural/Urban Roads rehabilitation, Health Centres and Schools construction, Community Water Sources, and road safety, institutional support and capacity building of actors involved, including compensation and resettlement of people affected by the project.
The project aligns with the National Development Plans of both Burundi and Tanzania, particularly the respective sectoral policies on transport in both countries. When completed, this multinational road will help open up rural areas, reduce vehicle operating costs, and enhance road safety. In addition, it will improve access to socio-economic and health infrastructure located along roads, particularly in Burundi’s Rumonge province Tanzania’s Kigoma region.
“The project will fundamentally enhance the mobility of goods and services for the people in Burundi and Tanzania”, said Gabriel Negatu Director General of the Bank Group’s East Africa Regional Development & Business Delivery Office. “The improved transport will bring additional benefits for the two neighboring countries, including empowering women and youth for whom new market centers will be opened and other economic activities will increase.”
The project is in line with the objectives of the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy (2013 - 2022) which focuses on assisting its regional member countries achieve more inclusive and greener growth via the Bank’s High5 priorities including integrating Africa and improving the lives of the people of Africa, The project is also consistent with the Bank’s Country Strategy Papers for both countries, which have infrastructure development as an important pillar. Likewise, the project is one of the priorities in the Bank’s East African Regional Integration Strategy Paper (2018-2022).
Complementary components to benefit local communities along the Project road in addition to the main roads upgrading works were well appreciated by Board members who encouraged packaging such integrated Projects.
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African Development Bank
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