News / Africa

Tanzania, Kenya Compete for Trade with Landlocked Neighbors

A crane arranges containers at the Port of Zanzibar on the island of Zanzibar, July 19, 2012.
A crane arranges containers at the Port of Zanzibar on the island of Zanzibar, July 19, 2012.
Tanzania is giving Kenya stiff competition in building trade with their landlocked East African neighbors, as business people in the region complain about deficiencies with Kenya’s port at Mombasa.  The effort by Tanzania has prompted Kenya’s newly elected president to move quickly in response. 

Access to the ocean gives Kenya and Tanzania a big trade advantage over their neighbors Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which all have to transit goods through the Indian Ocean ports of Mombasa, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Importers in landlocked countries like Uganda and Rwanda have openly spoken about their frustration with the ports and the high cost of transporting goods across regional borders.

According to a new report published by the World Bank, Tanzania and Kenya could boost their annual gross domestic product by up to $1.8 billion and $830 million respectively by taking measures to improve the efficiency of the ports.

In recent months Tanzania has worked especially hard to improve its game in the competition for the regional import market.

Everest Kayondo, head of Kampala City Traders Association, said Tanzania is offering enticing incentives to Ugandan businesses, including tax breaks for goods transported by road.

“It [Tanzania] has come up with some attractive measures like not asking bonds for our goods if they are ferried by train, so they are saying it will do it as if it’s a domestic cargo,” said Kayondo.

However, Weru Macharia, an independent foreign relations analyst in Nairobi, said the Tanzanian tax incentives will be useless if the country does not improve its road system.

“So I think it’s a good move from Tanzania and its going to be advantageous to the Ugandan businessmen but I think Kenya may also follow the same route,  So it depends now on how or who is going to be much more attractive because if you levy the taxes of the day then you also have to have proper and good infrastructure,” said Macharia.

Road construction

In an effort to encourage businesses in landlocked countries to use roads to transport their goods to the sea, the Tanzanian government has finished constructing a new road from Dar es Salaam on the coast to Mutukula on the border with Uganda.

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta prepares to inspect a guard of honor in Nairobi, April 16, 2013.Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta prepares to inspect a guard of honor in Nairobi, April 16, 2013.
x
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta prepares to inspect a guard of honor in Nairobi, April 16, 2013.
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta prepares to inspect a guard of honor in Nairobi, April 16, 2013.
Last month, newly-elected Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta reacted by visiting Uganda and Burundi to convince their leaders his country is also ready to improve its port and make other offers to encourage trade.

Everest Kayondo of the Kampala City Traders said each country will act in its own self-interest.

“Kenya, they will accept a policy as long as it favors them but the moment it’s not conducive to their business community they will sort of block it,” said Kayondo.

Analyst Weru Macharia argues Kenya is behaving that way because it feels it has leverage, but with Tanzania coming on strongly things might change.

“The complaints may be valid, but you don’t expect any country to be humanitarian in terms of trade and commerce.  So its upon them to see Tanzania coming in and there may be more at stake for Kenya, which might probably be more flexible in terms of dealing with Ugandan businessmen,” said Macharia.

In May, the World Trade Organization (WTO) director-general, on his visit to the region, said East African governments must improve their roads, ports and trade procedures if the region is to reach its full economic potential.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Official Pleased With Ebola Containment Measure

Official says three-day sensitization effort will help reduce infection rate of Ebola disease nationwide More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid