News / Africa

WTO to East Africa: Improve Your Infrastructure

TEXT SIZE - +
— World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Pascal Lamy said East African governments must improve roads, ports and trade procedures if the region is to meet its full economic potential.  He said specifically that border administration must be improved and there has to be cross-border recognition of technical standards.  

The call of the WTO chief comes as trade partners across the globe meet in Geneva to negotiate a new World Trade Organization agreement that will harmonize and streamline customs operations.

Speaking to reporters in Nairobi Thursday, WTO Director Lamy said the five-nation East Africa Community is doing well in facilitating trade, but that the cost of moving goods across borders is too high.

“There is a huge amount of work to do, when you look at the cost of moving a container from Mombasa to Kigali or from Dar es Salaam to DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo] and you measure the relative cost, transport moving along borders.  Still there is a huge amount of efficiency to gain, which will directly benefit to the development of these regions," he said.

Frank Matsaert, head of Trademark East Africa, a regional trade organization, acknowledged the cost of transporting goods across regional borders must be brought down.

“The big challenge for us in east Africa is reducing the high cost of doing business across our borders and we at Trademark East Africa are very committed to bringing down those costs by 15 percent and increasing trade," said Matsaert.

According to Tanzania Economic Update 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 of Dar es Salaam and Mombasa.
 
However, WTO Director Lamy said upgrading of ports might not improve trade if the roads are bad.

“It’s fine to improve the operation of the port of Dar es Salaam or Mombasa, but if upstream road transport is clogged it won’t have any impact on trade and it’s great to do both a port and upstream road link," he noted.

Apart from needed infrastructure improvements, east Africa states have historically been reluctant to surrender their nation’s interest for the greater interest of the East African Community.

You May Like

'Exceptionally Lucky' US Boy Survives Flight in Wheel Well

The boy was unconscious for most of the flight, and appeared to be unharmed after enduring the extremely cold temperatures and lack of oxygen More

US Anti-Corruption Law Snags Major Tech Company

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in December, 1977 More

Cameron Criticized for Calling UK 'Christian Country'

Letter from scientists, academics and writers says the prime minister is fostering division by repeatedly referring to England as a 'Christian country' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid