Make East Africa Open for Business, Don’t Close Borders

EABC URGES FOR HARMONIZATION OF COVID-19 CHARGES TO BOOST INTRA EAC TRADE

Kenya-uganda One Stop Border post in Busia County.

The East African Community member states are being advised against closing their borders as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread.

In a communique, East African Business Council (EABC, the regional apex body of private sector associations and corporates, says the states need to ensure the borders remained in full operation.

“The EAC region to ensure the borders remain fully operational and facilitate the free movement of goods and services across the EAC Partner States, read part of their recommendations.

They also propose that member states to formulate practical measures aimed at enhancing regional value chains to reduce over-reliance on imports.

The East African Community has already been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. As of Sunday, Kenya reported 42 cases, Uganda (33), Tanzania (13) Rwanda (60).

Burundi and South Sudan have not confirmed a single case.

Other raft measures include fast-tracking and enhancing EAC framework for e-commerce to ensure ease and access to essential goods within the region.

The facilitation of easier access to inputs and intermediate products for industries and the reduction of port and transport fees, levies and charges affecting the competitiveness of the EAC bloc.

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Trade between the partner states has already been negatively impacted through border closures restricted cross-border trade and also travel restrictions.

The region is projected to gain close to two million jobs from an increased economic activity if the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is successfully implemented, according to a joint report by Economic Commission For Africa and TradeMark East Africa.