The President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan arrived in Kenya on Tuesday this week following an invite from President Uhuru Kenyatta. The relationship between the two countries took a nosedive during the presidency of the late John Pombe Magufuli, her predecessor. Her visit is aimed at repairing the damaged relationship and restoring bilateral ties between the two countries.
During her visit, Kenya hosted a High-Level business forum that served as a platform for the business community to exchange views and develop proposals on measures that the two countries can adopt with the view to resolving the current trade and investment issues as well as increasing the overall trade between the two countries.
Strengthen Economic Ties
A delighted President Suluhu, focused on business relations, economic ties and investments between Kenya and Tanzania in her key addresses. She noted that “Investments from Kenya to Tanzania are largely good. We have about 513 Kenyan companies in Tanzania but from Tanzania to Kenya we have only 30 companies. Now when I go back I will urge more Tanzanian investors to come in and set shop in Kenya so that we can improve on our economies,” She cited that the 513 Companies are worth $1.7 billion and have created 51,000 jobs for Tanzanians.
She also emphasized that Tanzania is highly committed to seeing a vibrant private sector that is capable of facing the global challenges in the economy through an industrial drive. She advised the private sector in Tanzania to strive to establish business relationships that will enable both parties to exploit opportunities existing in each other’s country. She cited that there is an opportunity to leverage on Kenya’s technology and know-how as well as capital. On the other hand, Tanzania has an abundance of natural resources. She acknowledged that the transfer of technology is very vital.
A Word To Parliament
President Suluhu was also delighted to get the opportunity to address the joint sitting of the Senate and the National Assembly of Kenya. At the address, she noted that since taking the office, although she has received a number of invitations from different countries, she settled on Kenya given the historical ties that the two countries have. The state visit to Kenya was her first since she was sworn in. She clarified that her visit to Uganda was not a state visit but was for signing a pipeline deal. She is the second Tanzanian President to address the Parliament of Kenya.
Deals, Deals and More Deals
Her two-day visit also saw Kenya and Tanzania sign a deal for the transportation of liquefied petroleum gas via pipeline from Mombasa to Dar es Salaam. It is believed that the pipeline will help in reducing the cost of electric power and will also assist Kenya’s transition to environment-friendly energy.
The two Presidents agreed to reduce barriers to bilateral trade in order to improve the business environment and investment between the two countries. It was also agreed that there is a need to create a conducive environment for the private sector to thrive and participate fully in economic development.
President Suluhu also maintained that during her tenure as the President of Tanzania, she will endeavor to strengthen the two Capital Cities relations especially in economic cooperation. “As you are aware in the current world, relations between nations are based on economics. All other issues will naturally fall in place because of our blood relations but economically we need to lay out sound policies to build strong economies,”
More than Neighbours
President Uhuru acknowledged that the two countries other than sharing a geographical region, share a common culture, language and heritage. He emphasized on the need to revive the Joint Commission of Cooperation where both leaders will play a fundamental role in strengthening the bilateral ties. He also emphasized that the leaders should be meeting regularly to boost relations and solve regional challenges that hinder businesses from thriving. The Tanzanian and Kenya’s health Ministers were also told to work together and come up with a framework for the swift Covid-19 checks at both the Kenyan and Tanzanian borders, to avoid delay.
To cement the relationship further, President Suluhu invited President Kenyatta to Tanzania for the celebrations of Tanzania’s 60 years of independence. Her visit, other than cementing the relationship between Kenya and Tanzania, will also improve and boost the volume of trade between the two countries.
Truth & Pun Intended
“Go co-operate and do the business, mnabahati kwamba, nchi zetu mbili upande mmoja kuna uhuru wa kufanya biashara na upande mwingine kuna Suluhu ya kuondosha vikwazo vya biashara.”
Translated – You are lucky that between our two countries, on one side you have ‘Uhuru’ [Freedom] to carry out business and on the other side there is ‘Suluhu’ [Solution] to remove trade barriers in business.