EU grants Kenya Ksh.602 million to support safe regional trade

EU grants Kenya Ksh.602 million to support safe regional trade

The European Union has granted Kenya Ksh.601.5 million (€5 million) to support the Safe Trade Emergency Facility implemented by Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA).

The contribution by Eurozone makes for the largest donor in the programme, rolled out in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to keep regional trade afloat even as countries wage war on the virus.

The funding is expected to fund measures to protect critical supply chains and keep borders open preserving jobs and livelihoods.

“This action will support Kenya as the gateway to the EAC by making certain that all supply chains stay open and that food and all other critical supplies can reach their destinations. At the same time, we will support the Government in preventing COVID-19 spreading further because of cross border traffic. We are doing everything possible to support the economy. Saving jobs and businesses is saving lives,” said EU ambassador to Kenya Simon Mordue.

The programme is expected to provide mobile testing labs at the port of Mombasa and at key border crossings, complementing existing government facilities to prevent the virus from spreading at the trade hubs.

TMEA is set to introduce a tracking application linked to the Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTS) platform to monitor both trucks and their drivers, in line with health and sanitation protocols. The programme will also provide information at major border crossings.

“We note with appreciation that the support by the European Union through Trade Mark East Africa will support consistent COVID-19 prevention protocols at the boarders, supply critical PPE to our staff, increase the number of tests administered, expand health offices at the borders, and support facts-based communication to all the actors,” said EAC affairs Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohammed.

Necessary measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the region have the unintended consequences of dragging down regional trade. Trade volumes at the Port of Mombasa have for instance sharply declined, with dry, liquid, and containerized cargo declining at 16%, 19% and 23% respectively.

Moreover, fresh produce exports out of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) have dropped from a weekly 5,000 tonnes to only 1300 tonnes, a 75 percent decline.

With Kenya serving as an important regional gateway to the region, the effects of interruption in her trade flows are reverberating across the entire region.

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