NAIROBI, Kenya

The East African Business Council (EABC) on Tuesday called on regional states to recognize COVID-19 certificates of neighbor countries to ensure smooth trade activities within the bloc.

Currently, truck traffic jams along the borders have extended for dozens of kilometres as the neighboring countries dismiss COVID-19 certificates issued in other states, and officials at the borders demand a new certificate for truckers visiting a neighboring country, an exercise that takes days to complete.

“Currently, the traffic of trucks headed to the [Kenyan town of] Busia border starts at Mundika town, 15 kilometres [9.3 miles] to Busia border, while the traffic snarl up to Malaba border post [at Kenya’s western border with Uganda] is exceeding 30 kilometres,” the EABC said in a statement.

“With about 55 trucks stalled per kilometer, this implies that more than 2,400 trucks destined for Uganda are still yet to be cleared. A move disrupting cross border trade and costing the economy.”

Peter Mutuku Mathuki, the EABC CEO, said in a statement that “it is very critical for transporters in the region to allow partner states to electronically share truck drivers’ COVID-19 test results thus minimizing the need for multiple COVID-19 tests in a single trip.”

Despite the delays, EABC notes that “Intra East African Community trade is rebounding with Kenya’s exports to Uganda standing at $88 million as of August 2020, a jump from $53.9 million in the same period last year.“

According to figures by Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday, Kenya (41,619), Uganda (9,864), Tanzania (509), South Sudan (2,787), Burundi (515), and Rwanda (4,905) continue to register COVID-19 cases, with Kenya recording the highest number of infections.

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