THE volume of cross-border trade between Kenya and Tanzania will increase by 50 per cent once the Arusha-Mwatate road is complete, outgoing Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete has said.

The 90km road is being constructed by China City Construction Group. It is co-funded by the African Development Bank and the Kenya and Tanzania governments.

Kikwete launched the Sh8.4 million road at Taveta town yesterday at the start of his three-day state visit to Kenya. Present were President Uhuru Kenyatta, Mining CS Najib Balala, Taita Taveta Governor John Mruttu.

“This is one of the missing links aimed at enhancing the East Africa Integration objectives, and a crucial link between Kenya and Tanzania,” Uhuru said.

He said once the road is complete, it will attract large-scale investors in Kenya and Tanzania. So far, 34km of the road from Taveta has been upgraded to bitumen status.

“Free trade and non-tariff trade barriers will improve business in the region,” he said.

Uhuru said Kenya will soon tap gas from Tanzania to improve its energy supply at affordable prices. He said the road’s construction has come at the right time during the construction of the standard gauge railway line.

The President said goods from the Mombasa port will now be easily transported to Tanzania. Uhuru said the Isiolo-Moyale road connecting Kenya to Ethiopia will be opened by the end of this year.