Thursday, 19 March 2009
Kenya's government is to collect taxes for Somalia's government at their
common border, to help the embattled administration raise revenue.
Somalia has not had a functioning national authority since 1991 and
Islamist insurgents control much of the south of the country.
Announcing the deal, Kenya's foreign minister said tax collection was
the cornerstone for a government to work.
One result of Somalia's collapse has been the rise of piracy.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said that efforts to tackle piracy would not
work until Somalia had an effective government.
But the al-Shabab movement has continued to attack his forces.
Parliament operates outside the country because of security concerns.
Much of Somalia's imports pass through Kenya.
The official trade is worth up to $160m a year but the true figure is
likely to be much higher.
The trade in the mild narcotic khat leaf - chewed by many people in
Somalia and grown in Kenya - is worth at least $300,000 a day.
Under the deal signed on Wednesday, revenue officials from Kenya and
Somalia will collect taxes on goods being taken into Somalia at three
places - Wilson Airport, which handles the bulk of air traffic to
Somalia, as well as the border points of Mandera and Liboi.
Kenya will also help train Somali civil servants.
Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula said that by helping Somalia's
government raise revenue, the deal would help boost security in the
However, after previous deals between the two governments, Somali
Islamists have threatened to take revenge on Kenya but no major attack
has materialised since 2002.