KENYA – TANZANIA Business Forum at Serena Hotel on 5th May 2021

Photo 1:H.E. Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, C.G.H. President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces

Photo 2:H.E. Hon. Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of the United Republic of Tanzania

Photo 3:Hon. Betty C. Maina, EGH Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Industrialization,Trade and Enterprise Development

Photo 4: Amb. Johnstone Weru, Principal Secretary State Department for Trade and Enterprise Development








  • H.E. Hon. Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of the United Republic of Tanzania;
  • H.E. Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, C.G.H. President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces;
  •  H.E. DR. John Stephen Simbachawene,  Tanzania’s High Commissioner to Kenya;
  • H.E. Hon. Dan Kazungu, Kenya’s High Commissioner to Tanzania;
  • Hon. Ministers and Cabinet colleagues from the two countries;
  • Other Government Officials;
  • Captains of industry and business executives;
  • Distinguished guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • Let me take this opportunity to first congratulate Her Excellency, Samia Suluhu Hassan the President of United Republic of Tanzania on her appointment as the first female president of the United Republic of Tanzania, and in the whole of East Africa.
  • There is a lot to celebrate and look forward to on your ascending to the highest office in URT, for women desiring to assume leadership positions not only in government, but also in the corporate world. More importantly, our girls no longer have to look to faraway places like US, UK and Germany for role models but just across to your country.

Ladies and Gentlemen

  • Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania have enjoyed cordial relations going beyond our pre-independent days.
  • Tanzania continues to be a key partner of Kenya in many areas particularly in Trade and Investment, in agriculture, energy, security and infrastructure and logistics.
  • The United Republic of Tanzania is also Kenya’s second largest export destination in East Africa.
  • Further, Tanzania is a strategic and key trading and investment partner of Kenya regionally and globally.
  • It has consistently been Kenya’s second largest export destination after Uganda in East Africa and 7th global export destination with an average of 5% of Kenya’s total exports value. 
  • Likewise, Kenya is on average the 6th biggest export destination for Tanzanian exports with an average of 7% of Tanzania’s total export value.


Highlights of bilateral Trade relations


  • Aggregate trade between the two partners recorded high points in 2012 (Ksh. 60.4 billion) and 2014 (Ksh. 61 billion). The low points were witnessed in the period 2016 – 2018, when the values ranged from Ksh. 45 billion to Ksh. 47 billion.  
  • In 2020, two way trade was valued at Ksh. 58 billion, which is lower than the total trade in 2012,
  • Over the past 9 years, Kenya has exported more to URT that it imported, but the trade balance has significantly narrowed from Ksh. 31.6 billion in 2012 to Ksh. 4.2 billion in 2020.
  • Major Kenyan exports to Tanzania in 2020 included soap, medicaments and flat rolled products of iron and steel at 13%, 10% and 4% respectively of total exports. Other major export products comprised of margarine, salt, crown corks, electric accumulators and sugar confectionaries.
  • Main imports from Tanzania in 2020 were comprised of wood and wood products, rice, maize, and uncoated kraft paper and paperboard at 14.15%, 13.64%, 8.18% and 6.54% respectively of total imports from Tanzania. Other major imports included cattle (for slaughter), dry beans, distilled spirits, polythene sacks and bags for packaging and ceramic tiles.

Challenges facing trade

  • The low volumes in the years 2016 – 2018 point to some challenges.
  • Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) has been the biggest hindrance to trade flow between the two countries.
  • There were a combined 38 different NTBs affecting trade between, and about 25 had been resolved by end of April 2019 when a bilateral meeting was held in Arusha to address the issues.
  • In addition, there are also a number of operational and administrative challenges including system downtimes and slow clearance processes. I have already passed the list to my counterpart.
  • I want to commend Tanzania for their cordial trade relations no matter the challenges. However, clearly, there is need to prioritise total elimination of the NTBs and as such, I wish to propose a bilateral meeting by mid- June 2021 to address ourselves to these issues.


  • The East African Community  through the East African Customs Union and Common Market Protocol  phases of integration have opened up our borders and unlocked  opportunities for EAC business people to freely move goods across the borders, as persons or workers, establish themselves as self-employed persons and trade in all service sectors.
  • This gives relevance to our common goal as EAC members, to push for a common market to allow trade to thrive, give new opportunities to our business people and allow for increased trade flows, which has been in a downward trend. 
  • Some of these opportunities are reflected in the EAC-EU-EPA, which we so painstakingly negotiated for greater part of 14 years. However, these opportunities cannot be consummated without all the EAC Partner States signing and ratifying.
  • May I, on behalf of the business community, appeal to Your Excellency, to sign and ratify the EPA. This will enable them think beyond the small populations within our two countries.




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