FOUR years of President John Magufuli’s regime has witnessed a surge in trading volume between Tanzania and Rwanda, largely stimulated by improved business environment in the two East African nations.
This was revealed recently by Rwandan Ambassador to Tanzania Major General Charles Karamba, who also noted that the movement of people between the two countries has also increased.
Speaking exclusively to the ‘Daily News’ in Dar es Salaam, the diplomat unveiled that the volume of Rwandan import and export consignments cleared at Dar es Salaam Port has massively increased.
He attributed the increase to agreements entered by the two neighbours-- including opening key offices both in Dar es Salaam and Kigali.
“Four years of President Magufuli in power, the bilateral trade between the two countries has improved.
There is efficiency at Dar es Salaam Port. This has benefited both entrepreneurs and business community at large,” he added. According to last year’s statistics, Tanzania was Rwanda’s number-six trading partner.
The two countries traded US dollars 134.56million worth of goods Tanzania, however, trailed Uganda (USD 255.78m) and Kenya (USD 184.30million), in fourth and fifth place respectively.
Last year, the Tanzania Port Authority (TPA) opened a liaison office in Rwanda in a bid to improve business flow between Tanzania and Rwanda. Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) also opened its operations in Dar es Salaam.
Ambassador Karamba said between 10 to 15 RRA officers are working in Dar es Salaam while some TPA officers are in Rwanda as well.
The establishment of the two offices means that Rwandan importers and exporters will no longer need to travel to Dar es Salaam port to clear their shipments.
The diplomat cited another milestone achievement towards improving trade between the countries as the opening of One Border Post (OBP) at Rusumo, whereby, officials are working 24-hours daily, which helps traders save time and money, according to the High Commissioner.
He said the mutual understanding and good relations among President Paul Kagame and Dr Magufuli have had a trickle-down effect whereby ministers responsible for foreign affairs and infrastructure are working cordially, adding that citizens from both sides are now more comfortable to work and do their businesses in both countries.
Specifically on investments, the ambassador said improved diplomatic relationship between both countries has attracted more Tanzanians to invest in Rwanda.
“Rwanda is ranked high in Africa in the Ease of Doing Business in Africa...this is proved by the presence of 15 companies owned by Tanzanians in Rwanda.
Most of the companies are in the manufacturing sector,” the diplomat added. Rwanda is ranked 38 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings.