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EACPass to Minimize Cross-border Trade Quagmire

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EAC Secretariat is set to convene a multi-sectoral meeting on Monday 10th January 2022, to consider the adoption of the EACPass, a harmonized system to facilitate cross-border movement, in a bid to end persistent border traffic snarl-ups disrupting intra-EAC trade.

The meeting will include Ministers responsible for EAC Affairs, Transport and Health.

EAC Secretary General, Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki, said that as the region strives to rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic, constant trade impasses at EAC border points were reducing the gains made in integrating the region, adding that Partner States need to prioritise the adoption of a regional coordinated approach in handling the pandemic.

“Harmonization of Covid-19 charges and coordinated waiting time for Covid results is critical to facilitate business continuity and ease the cost of doing business,” said Dr. Mathuki.

This happens in the background of an ongoing trade impasse at the Kenya-Uganda border points of Busia and Malaba that has disrupted cross-border trade. The two borders on the Northern Corridor also serve Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and South Sudan.

Dr. Mathuki emphasised the need for Partner States to adopt the EACPass, a system that integrates all EAC Partner States negative test results for Covid-19 and those vaccinated, easing turnaround time at border points.

“The EACPass is directly integrated to all the six (6) Partner States central depository (National Laboratories) and only national accredited laboratories are approved to carry out PCR Covid-19 tests for travelers.

This is set to build confidence in all Partner States since certificates are digitally authenticated from all accredited laboratories in region,” he added.

The EACPass works by consolidating the results of all travelers and passengers undertaking mandatory Covid-19 testing in the designated accredited laboratories in each EAC Partner State.

The authorized and accredited testing facilities in each country upload Covid-19 data to their respective Ministry of Health (MOH) repository.

Only PCR Negative Covid-19 results for travelers are pushed automatically to the EACPass which is accessible digitally and is verifiable at all ports of entry and exit.

Currently, EAC Partner States have finalized the technical integration of accredited laboratories within the Community to EACPass and digital certificates can be shared across the region to facilitate easy movement of EAC citizens within the region.

“The piloting of EACPass has started in Republic of Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi while the other Partner States are finalizing the internal processes to start the piloting of the same,” said Dr. Mathuki.

The 21st Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Ministers responsible for Health held on 10th December, 2021 approved the EACPass as a regional platform to facilitate movement of all trave​llers in the region and beyond and also directed EAC Partner States to facilitate the implementation and use of EACPass as a platform for quick verification of Covid-19 test certificates and vaccination status for travelers.

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Business

Flights From Dubai To Nairobi Resume

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Kenya government has lifted a ban on flights from Dubai entering its territory ending a weeks-long dispute with the United Arab Emirates.

The East African nation had imposed a ban on all inbound and transit passenger flights from the Middle East nation two weeks ago. The ban was lifted Monday midnight, offering a major relief to hundreds of travellers between the two destinations.

The ban did not however affect cargo flights that are normally flown by carriers such as Kenya Airways (KQ) and Emirates airline from UEA into Kenya.

“Kenya shall do a NOTAM lifting the suspension of flights to and from UAE from midnight tonight (Monday),’’ said Gilbert Kibe Director-General Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).

The ban came a few days after UAE extended the Kenya flight ban after it established that travellers from Nairobi were testing positive for Covid-19 after arrival in the Middle East nation, despite carrying negative test results.

Kibe said the scheme involved a racket of private medical testing centres that colluded with travellers to issue fake Covid-19 PCR results to aid their travel.

The Ministry of Health has however launched investigations into the matter with a view to bringing to book health officials who were involved in the shoddy deal that has now coasted Kenya millions of shillings in lost passenger revenues.

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Bralirwa Shares Trading Badly On Rwanda Stock Exchange

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Since the just concluded festive season, Rwanda’s largest brewer has not been in good books with its clients as retailers repeatedly complain of lack of some products and  sometimes rationing of beers.

“It is very hard to get grand Primus beers. Every time I send someone to get them from the depot we are told that distributors  haven’t supplied,” says Christine Nyiramariza a bar owner in Gatsibo district.

Trending on twitter is a very confusing situation of Amstel beer filled in Mutzig bottles.

According to Rwanda Stock Exchange, as of Friday, the value of Bralirwa share had dropped to Rwf124.

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Business

Equity Bank Gets £37m From British Agency To Lend SMEs

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UK’s Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford MP (pictured above) said his government was extending a total of £37 million to Equity Bank Kenya for onward lending to small businesses.

“Our economic partnership is delivering impressive results, and we have some ambitious, exciting plans for the future. Plans that will deliver for Kenya, and for the UK, long into our shared future,” she said.

This money is being channeled through UK’s development finance institution British International Investment (BII) – formerly known as CDC Group. BII is a key part of the UK government’s wider plans to mobilise up to £8 billion a year of public and private sector investment in international projects by 2025.

This will include BII partnering with capital markets and sovereign wealth funds to scale up financing and help the private sector move in.

BII will prioritise sustainable infrastructure investment to provide clean, honest and reliable financing and avoid low and middle-income countries being left with bad and unsustainable debt.

Ford also stated that the UK will increase its support for green manufacturing in Kenya by providing an additional £400,000 to help Kenya build a green manufacturing industry, increasing its support to the Ministry of Trade and the wider Kenyan manufacturing sector in this area.

Green manufacturing was highlighted by President Kenyatta at COP26 as a key opportunity for Kenya to create new green jobs.

The funding through the UK’s Manufacturing Africa programme will provide expert analysis and advice on how government policy and the organised private sector can help build this industry and create new green jobs for Kenyans.

Kenya is already the third biggest portfolio for BII, with Sh42 billion investments across 83 companies. Those companies support 36,350 jobs and pay Sh2.6 billion in taxes.

“This is how we will deliver world-class projects, characterised by high standards and outstanding expertise, without forcing huge new debts onto countries such as Kenya,” she said.

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