Somalia Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Rooble has assured members of the Somali business community living in Mombasa that cross-border trade between the countries will resume soon.
This is after Rooble held a closed-door meeting with the Somali business community at Whitesands Hotel in Mombasa Wednesday, who informed him of the need for the two countries to strengthen their diplomatic relationship and continuously collaborate in different sectors of the economy.
The Somalia government delegation left the venue without addressing journalists who had earlier been invited to cover the meeting.
However, Mombasa Somali Community Chairman Mohamed Ibrahim addressed the media saying the Prime Minister has assured them of resumption of cross border trade between the two countries after his meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“He really praised our President for agreeing to reset their relations and expressed his regret for the brief misunderstanding that affected ordinary people like us who are in business,” added Ibrahim.
The chairman said they informed Mohamed of the need for the two governments to tighten diplomatic linkages for the sake of traders operating in both countries. “Without going into the details of his discussions with our President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Prime Minister assured us that the talk will lift all restrictions particularly cross border businesses,” added Ibrahim.
He further said Kenya and Somalia traders have been engaged in decades of cross border business that earned both countries massive revenues.
According to the Mombasa Somalia community, the Prime Minister said his country also depends on skilled and unskilled Kenyan workforce in different sectors.
“He also told us they were equally affected since there are sectors of their economy that depend on skilled workers from our country and we told him that such good neighbourliness should be cultivated,” added Mr Ibrahim.
He also told journalists that the Somalia Premier challenged the community to support the two governments in their pursuit for enhanced security along the two borders.
“Rooble told Somalia citizens living and working in this country to support him in his security and peace initiatives,” added Mr Ibrahim.
The Mombasa Somali traders lamented that the border closure and subsequent suspension of miraa export to Somalia have had huge effects on their businesses.
The traders said many cargo businesses depending on transportation of cross border cargos were closed with flights grounded.
“Aircrafts ferrying miraa and other consignments from Kenya to Somalia are grounded with pilots and employees forced to stay for long without income,” added Mr Abdulkadir Hassan, another Somali trader.