HARDLY a month ago Burundi hosted a three-day trade fair dubbed ‘Tanzanian Products
Ex hibition’ organised by the Tanzanian Embassy in that country w ith the sole aim of enlarging trade in the East Africa Community (EAC) bloc and enhance bilateral cooperation.
At one of the pavilions of ‘Woiso Original Products’ exhibiting Tanzania products namely shoes, bags and sandals, it
w as w orth praise that locally manufactured w ares w ere in the mark et.
ev er, it w as unfortunate that the traders lamented that at the border posts of Tanzania and Burundi, some Immigration and Police Officers, banked on the passage of the businesspeople and their goods as another alternative source to mint extra coins by unnecessary creating a room, w here their hands could be oiled.
arriv ed in Bujumbura late in the night. I spent over tw o hours at Burundi-Tanzanian border w ithout any valid reason.
We were obliged to bribe the police officers so that they let us continue our
w ay. I w onder w hat w ill happen if I send my products to be sold in Bujumbura.
I have the impression that they can be lost at the border.
“ As members of the East African Community,
w e w ere ex pected to enjoy the free movement of people and goods as provided for in the EAC treaty, w hich is not the case here,” said one of the traders.
That aside, a few days ago, the Uganda-Tanzania Business Summit ended in Dar es Salaam after bringing together more than 500 business delegates to discuss different issues on bilateral trade. Kudos!
w as a huge opportunity for the Ugandan and Tanzanian private sector to share experiences, forge business-to-business networks, and pursue investment opportunities.
On 5th July, President Uhuru Kenyatta paid a
tw o-day State visit to President John Magufuli at his Chato home, where bilateral cooperation and trade betw een their countries featured.
On 13th J
uly, President Yow eri Museveni jetted into Geita Region for a one-day visit to President John Magufuli, w here also bilateral cooperation and trade betw een their countries featured in their talk .
Hardly another month, Dar es Salaam hosted the 39th SADC Ordinary Summit of Heads of State meeting, which also geared at promoting trade and bilateral cooperation with the bloc.
In a nutshell, East Africa represents one of Africa’s oldest trading areas w ith a deep history of effectiv e integration having almost formed a customs union in the 1970s.
With latest efforts of the integration
pick ing up and seen triggering regional trade and investment, it is expected that goods, services and people move freely across the borders as it is alw ays preached by the Heads of State.
Additionally, the economies in the region are supported by business-friendly governments
w ith political will to support and increase foreign investment, business grow th and deeper regional integration.
It w ill be unfortunate that w ith all these struggles, some government employees paid by tax payers money, be they Police, Immigration or any officer w ould not be supporting and blessing the idea, just because of personal gain.