Kenya and Ethiopia have sealed a deal for a free trade area, seeking to enhance cross-border trade and movement of people.
The two countries signed the Moyale One Stop Border Post (OSBP)Procedure Manual, an operational guiding document that is expected to give them a competitive edge with regard to goods traded.
The deal seeks to encourage small-scale traders by developing a simplified framework to facilitate their business activities at the border.
It will also help to harmonise the two countries’ trade regimes, especially on agricultural products, allowing citizens from both countries to conduct business beyond the borders.
Further, the OSBP will be relied on by the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor project, ensuring growth from the accelerated services and improved infrastructure.
Both governments also agreed on the need to reopen the Moyale border post to encourage legitimate trade and movement of people, while also mitigating security issues like human and drug trafficking.
This comes at a time when Tanzania has just recently ratified the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), joining a pact connecting countries with a total gross domestic product of $3.4 trillion. The AfCFTA drastically relaxes rules of origin and non-tariff barriers, allowing traders of all sizes to explore the 1.3 billion people market across the continent.