Since 2010 trade flows across East Africa have been increasing substantially, as it stands African countries carry out about 23 percent of their trade with one another, a percentage higher than the 15 percent estimate by the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB). Indeed from 2004-2014 Intra-EAC trade grew from $2.6 billion to $8.6 billion. This trend continues thanks to leading trade and development organisation, TMEA, who are responsible for a significant portion of this increase thus far. Last week the organisation launched their latest project set to increase and ease trade further in the EAC region – The Taveta Holili One Stop Border Post.
The Taveta & Holili OSBP is just one of 15 One Stop Border Posts that TMEA have supplied funding for and is the first to be operationalized. The facility was completed at a cost of approximately $12 million, which was donated through TMEA by the United Kingdom’s DFID, Canada and USAID.
The Taveta Holili OSBP is a clear example of how TMEA works closely with the East African Community through governments, private sector and civil society to increase trade by unlocking economic potential in the area. The OSBP contributed by providing increased physical access to markets; reducing time to transport, lower transportation costs and easing business between the neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania.
The local support behind the OSBP was evidenced by the appearance of by Ambassador Dr. Augustine Mahiga, the Tanzanian Minister for Foreign Affairs, East African, Regional and International Cooperation, and Kenya’s Labour and East African Affairs Minister, Ms. Phyllis Kandie, who launched the site officially.
At the launch Dr Mahiga commented on the fact that the OSBP would ease the movement of goods and people from the two neighboring states. He stated: ‘It’s a demonstration of the trust between the two countries and that the One People One Destiny dream is slowly being realised through various East Africa Community initiatives,’ said Dr. Mahiga.
In tandem with the border post the Arusha-Holili/Taveta-Voi road, which is currently being constructed, will act to boost cross border trade and foster further good relations between Kenya and Tanzania. Kenya’s Labour and East African Affairs Minister stated that in addition to the OSBP facilitating farmers and businesspersons from Northern Tanzania to access the Kenyan market, the Holili/Taveta OSBP would boost mutual interactions and support unity of purpose and sustainability.
The Secretary General of the EAC shared Dr Mahiga’s sentiments and emphasised that “This OSBP will boost trade by facilitating faster clearance of cargo, realize significant reduction in transport cost and ensure effective border control mechanisms are put in place.”
Over the past years TradeMark East Africa has shown itself to be a success story of how the UK aid budget is changing lives in a sustainable way and the launch of the Holili Taveta OSBP is another example of how their work helps countries to transition beyond aid by building sustainable local economies.