President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on East Africans to unite in order to develop a prosperous region.
The President said through open trade and enhanced people-to-people interactions, the region will be able to deal with the challenges facing its people including poverty.
“We must aim to remove all barriers that hinder the free movement of our people across our borders,” President Kenyatta said adding that East Africans are one people with a shared heritage and a common destiny.
President Kenyatta spoke when he addressed thousands of Chato town residents in Northern Tanzania who gathered to welcome him during the start of his two-day private visit of the region at the invitation of President John Pombe Magufuli.
He cautioned political leaders against making inflammatory remarks saying no one will be allowed to sow seeds of division among East Africans.
“How can you tell a Tanzanian not to visit Kenya. You cannot deny Kenyans a chance to do business in Tanzania,” the President said.
President Magufuli thanked President Kenyatta for the private visit saying he was honoured to host the Kenyan leader in his home village.
He said President Kenyatta has made history for being the first Head of State to visit Chato which is a township in the Geita region.
Speaking on the growing trade between the two neighboring nations, President Magufuli said Kenyans own 504 companies in his country worth 1.7 billion US dollars compared to 24 Tanzanian companies in Kenya worth 189 million US dollars.
“According to the Kenya Tourism Board, in 2018, Tanzanian tourists visiting Kenya were 222,216 accounting for 10 percent of the over 2 million visitors who visited the country,” President Magufuli said adding that Tanzania is Kenya’s second largest tourists source market after the United States of America.
He said Kenyan companies provide over 50,000 direct jobs to Tanzanians and called for concerted efforts by both countries to promote trade, implementation of regional infrastructure and people-to-people interactions.