President Uhuru Kenyatta and visiting Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday inaugurated the Moyale One-Stop Border Post (OSBP).
Also inaugurated is the 500-kilometer Hawassa-Hagere Mariam-Moyale Road which is part of the Trans African Highway and a key segment of Mombasa-Nairobi-Addis Ababa transport corridor.
Speaking to residents of Moyale town on the Ethiopian side of the border, President Kenyatta encouraged traders from both countries to utilise the new infrastructure especially the OSBP to boost cross-border trade.
The President said his administration attaches great importance to its partnership with the Ethiopian Government in the roll out of joint infrastructure projects saying such initiatives are aimed at deepening the strong bilateral ties that exist between the two countries.
“Indeed, with the completion of this border post the two countries have demonstrated the political goodwill to address the challenges and impediments facing businesses from both sides.
“In addition to facilitating trade between the two countries, the border post will also enhance mutual interactions among our people and create synergy and unity of purpose,” the President said.
He said the region has huge untapped potential for trade and investment, and encouraged the local business communities to capitalize on the OSBP to boost trade and investments across the border.
“We want to see Moyale becoming the Dubai of this whole region, people coming here to buy goods and taking them to other countries. That is the beginning of true partnership, true cooperation,” the President said.
Speaking off-the-cuff at a separate meeting on the Kenyan side of the border, President Kenyatta said non-tariff barriers are the greatest impediment to regional trade.
He said Kenya will continue working closely with her neighbours to eliminate the identified trade barriers so as to increase the flow of business across regional borders.
The President also spoke about cross-border insecurity in the region saying both the Kenyan and Ethiopian authorities will not relent in efforts to ensure lasting peace and tranquility along the common border.
“We must also work together because we cannot establish economic victory if we are consistently having security challenges.
“We must work together as two neighbours to deal with those elements who live within and amongst us and who threaten the peace and stability of Kenya and Ethiopia. We must work together to remove them,” President Kenyatta said.
Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed, who spoke during meetings on both sides of the border, said the new Moyale OSBP will help expedite movement of goods and persons across the Kenya-Ethiopia border.
“This artificial border, in my opinion, will be dismantled with the new infrastructure. The new infrastructure will bring the two families together and tap the potential and opportunities of business and economy,” Dr Abiy said.
The Prime Minister said Kenya and Ethiopia will continue working together on infrastructure and in maintenance of peace and security along the border region.
“Just as in infrastructure, we will work on peace and security of this area because peace is the foundation of every thing we aspire to transform the lives of these people. If we work together as Governments to eliminate Alshabab and OLF from this region you will see how the lives of these people will be transformed,” Dr Abiy said.
Treasury CS Ukur Yatani and Marsabit Governor Mohamed Mohamud Ali also spoke at the meeting on the Kenyan side of the border, attended by Cabinet Secretaries John Munyes (Petroleum), Adan Mohammed (East African Community) and Amb Raychelle Omamo (Foreign Affairs) among other senior Ethiopian and Kenyan Government officials.