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President Uhuru Kenyatta And Tanzania President Suluhu Hassan Agree To Eliminate Barriers To Trade and Movement Of People.

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Kenya and Tanzania on Tuesday agreed to eliminate barriers hindering the smooth flow of trade and people between the two East African nations.

The decision was arrived at yesterday at State House, Nairobi during bilateral talks led by President Uhuru Kenyatta and visiting Tanzania Head of State Samia Suluhu Hassan.

A joint team of experts will be set up to address the disjointed enforcement of cross-border Covid-19 containment protocols, one of the most pronounced non-tariff trade barrier between the two nations.

Just as His Excellency the President has said, we have agreed that our Health Ministers need to sit down and come up with a structured system of testing our people at the border points to allow easy movement of our people so as to do their businesses,” President Samia Suluhu told the media at State House, Nairobi.

The two leaders noted that Kenya and Tanzania need to develop modalities for mutual recognition of COVID-19 test results, noting that the lack of harmonized protocols has hampered free flow of goods and people.

First, we noted that trade between Kenya and Tanzania is facing some administrative challenges. They include non-tariff barriers and other restrictions which are frustrating trade and investment between our two countries,” President Kenyatta said.

The Kenyan Head of State congratulated President Suluhu for assuming the leadership of her country’s ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and assured her of Kenya’s unwavering support.

He said Kenya and Tanzania were not only geographically conjoined but have a common culture, common language, shared heritage and a common ancestry.

Your visit has given us the opportunity to renew our relations and we want to assure you that the Republic of Kenya and my Government will be in the forefront working together with you and your Administration to ensure our unity especially as East African nations and neighbours, will continue to grow and be strengthened for the benefit of our people,” President Kenyatta said.

He said Kenya and Tanzania had agreed to rejig their Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) to enable it deal with issues affecting trade, adding that the two countries had agreements on importation of natural gas from Tanzania to Kenya, and another on cultural exchanges.

“We have agreed to re-energize the Joint Commission for Cooperation between our two countries, and we have directed our Ministers to meet regularly to ensure that they continue strengthening our relations by sorting out minor problems affecting our people as they do business and interact with each other.

“They (JCC) need to ensure that investors coming from either Tanzania or Kenya do not face hurdles by ensuring a structured system is put in place to help us build our countries for the mutual benefit of our people,” President Kenyatta said.

President Kenyatta also spoke about shared infrastructure saying Kenya and Tanzania had agreed to improve their connectivity through new roads, aviation and maritime transport so as to hasten economic growth.

We will strengthen aviation, railway, sea and lake transport as well as roads. We also discussed the need to hasten the construction of the Malindi-Lungalunga-Bagamoyo Road to ease movement of goods and people,” he said.

On the signed agreement on natural gas imports from Tanzania, President Kenyatta said the resource will help Kenya meet its growing energy demand.

We also agreed to build a gas pipeline from Dar es Salaam to Mombasa that will lower energy costs in Kenya and help our industries to access environmentally friendly energy,” he said.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan is on a two-day State Visit to Kenya, and is on Wednesday scheduled to address a joint sitting of Kenya’s bicameral parliament.

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President Chakwera Of Malawi Says Malawians must switch to cannabis As Tobbaco is Being Declined.

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President Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi on Wednesday saidthat his country’s leading foreign exchange earner, tobacco, was in terminal decline and he urged a switch to high-growth crops like cannabis, which was legalised locally for some uses last year.

Chakwera made the comments during a state of the nation address in which he said tobacco was expected to earn less than $200 million in 2021, a figure roughly similar to the past two years but well below previous annual earnings that used to top $350 million.

On Wednesday, neighbouring Zimbabwe’s government also changed its regulations to encourage investment into cannabis.

The inconvenient truth … is that while Malawi has come a long way by relying on tobacco as our … largest single crop contributor to our GDP, this reliance is now seriously threatened by declining demand worldwide,” Chakwera said.

Tobacco was a stain on an otherwise booming agricultural sector, which the president said would enable economic growth to recover to 3.8% this year, according to the latest forecasts, and would push it to 5.4% next year.

Malawi’s parliament passed a bill in February last year that makes it legal to cultivate and process cannabis for medicines and hemp fibre used in industry, but stops short of decriminalising recreational use.

Chakwera said the agriculture ministry would “search for a basket of alternative crops so that by 2030, Malawi can do away with its reliance on tobacco.”

Countries around the world are either legalising or relaxing laws on cannabis, including several in southern Africa such as Zambia, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s new rules will allow investors to wholly own cannabis businesses, a departure from previous requirements to partner with the government.

They also allow cannabis to be produced anywhere in Zimbabwe, instead of in restricted locations. Investors can keep export earnings in U.S. dollars for up to four years, a government statement said.

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Museveni sworn in as Uganda President for 6th term.

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Yoweri Museveni has been sworn in as Uganda President for a sixth term in a ceremony attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta and other African heads of state.

President Kenyatta, who is the current East African Community (EAC) chair, arrived in Uganda on Wednesday morning.

He was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Raychelle Omamo (Foreign Affairs), Peter Munya (Agriculture) and James Macharia (Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development).

Other Heads of State who were present include Suluhu Samia Hassan (Tanzania); Sahle-Work Zewde (Ethiopia); Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo (Democratic Republic of Congo); Nana Akufo-Addo (Ghana); Alpha Condé (Guinea); Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa (Zimbabwe); Hage Gottfried Geingob (Namibia); Salva Kiir Mayardit (South Sudan) and Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo (Somalia).

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CS Kagwe on KEMSA scandal.

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Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, was tasked on Wednesday with explaining why there have been no prosecutions months after the KEMSA scandal broke.

According to CS Kagwe, the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority is to blame because it purchased Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) at exorbitant prices when the pandemic was reported.

At the time, PPEs used to cost around Ksh.9,5000 at Nairobi Hospital, and KEMSA was buying them for Ksh.9000. There were no PPEs in the country, so people would just sell to KEMSA at whatever price they set,” he explained.

Investigators could not go after those who supplied KEMSA, according to the Health Ministry’s boss, because it was the Authority’s responsibility to do due diligence before making purchases.

You see, like today, Nyokabi is wearing a very nice sweater, it looks expensive; if you go to a boutique and the attendant sells you the same sweater for three times the price, do you really blame the seller or yourself for being silly?” CS Kagwe posed

The CS stated that he was the one who invited the anti-corruption commission and other agencies to investigate the matter after news of the scandal broke.

In late April, President Uhuru Kenyatta has appointed Mary Chao Mwadime to serve as chairperson of the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority Board for a three-year term

According to a gazette notice dated April 28, the change of hands took effect on April 30 and resulted in the revocation of James Kembi Gitura’s appointment as chairperson.

In the same Gazette notice, CS Kagwe named Capt. (Rtd) Lawrence Wahome, Robert Nyarango, and Terry Kiunge Ramadhani to the Board of Directors of the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority for a three-year term beginning April 30, 2021.

At the same time, Timothy Mwololo Waema, Bibiana K. Njue, Joel Onsare Gesuka, and Dorothy Atieno Aywak’s appointments were revoked.

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