KIGALI - As the three regional blocs (COMESA, EAC and SADC) continue to integrate their economies, countries have been advised to emulate Rwanda’s mechanism of fighting corruption.
The call was made, in Kigali on Tuesday, by Helen Kenani a trade expert from COMESA during a two-day meeting of sensitizing nationals on mechanisms of eradicating Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) in the region.
The trade expert said that the regional economic integration cannot be fully realized if some tripartite member states have to deal with corruption.
“We wish to see all member states corruption free as Rwanda has done; otherwise if such non tariff barriers still exist in our member states we shall not achieve the economic integration,” Kenani said in an interview.
The NTBs mentioned include corruption, unnecessary roadblocks, weighbridges and lack of mutual recognition of quality standards, as these have become impediments in regional economy.
Member states of the EAC have, for the past few years, embarked on reducing these barriers to trade.
She added that online mechanism had been established to enable stakeholders to report and monitor non-tariff barriers encountered in SADC, COMESA and EAC as way of eradicating them in the region.
“If, for example, a driver transporting cargo is stopped at the border and is asked for a bribe, he has authority to submit complaint through email to the tripartite secretariat,” she said.
Meanwhile, Peace Basemera, a trade negotiator in the Ministry of Trade and Commerce commended the online mechanism, saying that it will tackle corruption and enhance economic cooperation.
“We have been meeting regularly to discuss traders’ problems and this online mechanism will help to reduce NTBs,” she said
The Tripartite comprises 26 member countries from the three regional blocs.