Rwanda : Rwanda, Kenya move to ease travel

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Rwandans and Kenyans could soon cross borders using IDs

Rwandans and Kenyans could soon cross borders using IDs

Kenyans could soon be able to travel to Rwanda and vice versa using only their national identity cards in efforts to create a borderless region that allows free movement of people and goods.

Kenyan media reports indicate that East African Community (EAC) Minister Musa Sirma announced that Kenya and Rwanda are planning a pilot exchange program that will allow the free movement to happen.

“Kenya will very soon have an exchange program with the Republic of Rwanda on the issue of migration,” he is quoted to have said recently.

“It’s at a very advanced stage and very soon, you will see the integration process moving. I urge members to fast track their identity cards so that we can use identity cards within East Africa,” he said.

Sirma further urged EAC members to take a leading role in ensuring that all organs and institutions of the community work together to provide an environment that enables the free movement of people and goods.

“The integration process in the EAC has provided an opportunity for the partner states to expand their markets into a single larger one, while adapting best practices to improve their economies and living standards of their people,” he said.

“This therefore implies the need for our countries to deepen and expand integration amongst them.”

He noted that the integration of the region will create opportunities to lower costs of cross border trade, create economies of scale as the market expands and act as a spring board for the partner states to develop their competitive capacities so they can compete with the rest of the world.

The East African Community Customs Union seeks to liberalize trade of goods between partner states and the establishment of the Common Market Protocol has allowed for unprecedented increase in intra-EAC trade.

There has been ease of movement of people, goods and services thus promoting cross border investments in the community.

Recently, Rwanda became the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to launch their one-stop electronic clearing system called Rwanda Electronic Single Window, which automates cross border trade procedures and will help businesses save around Sh758 million yearly on customs costs.

The system allows traders to submit customs documents online, cutting the time required to clear goods in half and Kenya is looking to implement its own single customs digital stop, established by President Mwai Kibaki in 2011 as the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade) with the aim of simplifying and harmonising trade documentation.

 

 

 

 

 

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About the author

Ashley Stuart is the Editor (English) for RwandaEye. She has worked as the lead project manager for Dunkirk Business Consultancy and is an authority on Foreign Markets. She is the major contributor of English articles for RwandaEye.

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