Tanzania Pulls Out of East Africa Common Visa Plan at the Last Minute
Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli has dealt Kenya another blow after pulling out of the common visa project that was launched amongst Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda to boost tourism in the East Africa region.
The initiative dubbed ‘the coalition of the willing’ would have enabled the East African countries to market tourism as a single project and also allow tourists to use the same visa while travelling to the East African countries.
Addressing the media on Wednesday, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala announced that Tanzania pulled out of the common visa plan since they feared competition.
“Tourists who will be moving between the three countries that form the coalition will now be using a common visa that will be charged at $100 (Sh10,122) instead of $150 (Sh15,183) that each country charged before.”
“The coalition of the willing has also agreed to have a common East Africa stand at the world Travel Market to be held in London on November 7. The stand has been dubbed ‘borderless East Africa’, but Tanzania will not be part of it,” Balala stated.
Balala called upon Tanzania to reconsider its decision and join hands together with the three countries so that they could market Tourism as a single entity.
While pulling out of the deal, Tanzania made it clear that they wanted nothing to do with the marketing strategies pushed by Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.
This would not be the first time the neighbouring country has frustrated Kenya in terms of cooperation and policies.
In July 2016, Tanzania declined to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between EAC and European Union (EU).
The deal would have seen commodities from East Africa access European markets duty-free but Tanzania pulled out the last minute claiming it would not benefit the local industries.
The neighbouring country also managed to convince Uganda to abandon its initial plan of connecting its oil pipeline via Kenya and lured them to use Tanzania.
The decisions made by Tanzania have only but pointed to a strained relationship between the two countries despite the government denying the claims on several occasions.