PUBLISHED ON January 12th, 2015

Remove the barriers to trade in East Africa

Tanzanian tour operators have protested after their vans were stopped from dropping passengers at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

The development, which no doubt has security implications on Kenya, has been interpreted as a fightback after Tanzania barred Kenyan vans from taking tourists to its game parks.

Both these restrictions fly in the face of the campaign to market the East African Community (EAC) as a single tourist destination. Under the campaign, tourists have been urged to apply for a single visa that would allow them to visit any of the countries in the community without border restrictions.

If EAC countries are to benefit from this initiative, they need to resolve some of these non-tariff barriers to the free movement of people and goods across their borders.

The best solution would be for both countries to ease access to their facilities and installations for users from across the border to the extent that this does not compromise security. Where this is not possible, then there is need for an agreement on seamless exchanges that do not add unnecessary costs.

East Africa is making big strides towards greater integration and it needs stronger institutions and mechanisms to resolve disputes and other challenges.

The latest controversy is a matter that, with a little goodwill on both sides, can easily be resolved and a solution found to satisfy all those involved and benefit the respective countries and the region.

Tourism plays an important role in the economies of the two countries and, considering the competition they face from destinations such as South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania would be better off fighting in the same corner than against each other.

Source: Daily Nation

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TradeMark Africa.