36. New Coronavirus Pandemic ー EAC Border Supply Chain Monitoring and Support for Promotion of Regional Agriculture
The East African Community (EAC) is is an intergovernmental organisation composed of six countries of the East African countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. Among these EAC countries, only Kenya and Tanzania have coastlines, whereas Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan are landlocked countries, and cross-border logistics of lifeline including food, fuel, and medical products are part of the national economy.
On May 12, 2020, it was reported that among the presidents of the six EAC countries, Presidents Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), and Salva Kiir Mayardit (South Sudan) held a video conference and issued a joint statement regarding their commitment to collaborate in dealing with COVID-19. Leaders of the four countries have agreed to share information such as the test results of drivers who are responsible for the supply chain so that logistics across borders will not be interrupted during the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was made as Uganda announced 4 new COVID-19 cases among 1,478 truck drivers including 2 from Kenya and Tanzania (Africanews).
The leaders agreed to designate the Ministry of Health and Transportation in each country to coordinate measures including the introduction of a digital surveillance and tracking system for drivers so that the distribution of medical products and food can be carried out smoothly. Furthermore, in view of the current pandemic and post-COVID-19, the leaders announced that they would support agricultural processing and value-adding by ensuring that farmers' agricultural activities continue uninterrupted. In order to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19, the leaders emphasized efforts to promote the agricultural sector, aiming for import substitution at the regional level (making foods that were dependent on imports partially or fully self-sufficient).
On the other hand, the meeting was not attended by the Presidents of Tanzania and Burundi. It is said that Tanzania has pursued different approaches to the pandemic from other countries and not restricted economic activities.
AFRICATIMES. EAC states to monitor truck drivers, borders in response to COVID. Accessed on May 13, 2020.
Africanews. Coronavirus - Africa: Free Movement of Goods, Fight against COVID-19 Key Agenda as East African Community (EAC) Leaders Meet Accessed on May 13, 2020.
Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Research Strategy Office)