On Friday, Kenya and Tanzania decided to open their borders following a tense week noted by simmering trade issues amid the covid-19 pandemic.
Restrictions and trade recommendations saw the two countries regenerate a smoldering trade war. In turn, the two countries put sanctions on each other to the extent of banning certain commodities.
The better part of Friday saw government officials meet at the Namanga border to make truce over the row. During the meetup, leaders from both countries discussed a seamless cross-border of products as they ended the standoff.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, and Urban Development, James Macharia led a delegation for the meeting.
On the other hand, Transport Minister Isack Kamwelwe led the Tanzanian delegation.
The mutual consideration followed a phonecall from President Uhuru Kenyatta to his Tanzanian counterpart John Pombe Magufuli.
Their discussions centered around the heightened tension at the borders following truck drivers waiting long hours to get tested for covid-19. In turn, the two countries faced huge losses economically.
To end the stalemate, the two groups engaged in a six-hour boardroom meeting before coming up with a memorandum of understanding.
A source revealed that the two sides remained reluctant to cede ground regarding the screening of truck drivers.
To protect their trade interests, CS Macharia insisted that the two countries must unite. Moreover, they needed to address the health problems facing their citizens.
“As trade partners, Kenya and Tanzania have recorded a trade turnover of over $500 million each year. In the wake of this, we have agreed that truck drivers from Kenya and Tanzania will undergo the WHO standard testing for covid-19. Later, they would receive clearance certificates from their territories,” stated Mr. Macharia.
Upon the installation of a mobile laboratory, the CS assured drivers of a speedy testing process.
“By Monday, the new mobile laboratory will have started operations with a testing capacity of between 500 to 600 daily,” he added.