Following recent directive by President John Magufuli and his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, the Tanzania and Kenya Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) met yesterday after failing to meet for four years due to various reasons.
The two countries had agreed to hold strategic important bilateral meetings every two years.
But for the last four years, the two East Africa’s countries failed two meet on what was described as a series of national issues that took a big part of the government’s plan.
Opening the JCC meeting, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Aziz Mlima, said Tanzania was looking forward to boosting cooperation initiatives with Kenya.
“For the last four years, we couldn’t meet following some serious national events, including the constitution writing process and the general elections,’’ Dr Mlima noted.
He said that the government “is ready so to speak and our president met his counterpart in Nairobi and agreed to revive and boost such cooperation,” he said during the third JCC between Kenya and Tanzania.
According to Dr Mlima, the meeting, involving representatives from the ministries of Transport; Home Affairs; Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries; Water and Irrigation; Energy; and Communication will meet and discuss an action plan and propose a new modality to further the existing relations.
He said Tanzania has already held similar sessions with Zambia and Rwanda. Leading the Kenyan delegation, Ambassador Ben Ogutu said Kenya and Tanzania shared warm relations diplomatically, geographically and economically.
“Therefore, there is greater potential for economic and investment cooperation,” he noted. Ambassador Ogutu noted that the two East African Community (EAC) member states boasted of strong cooperation in the area of trade, health, security and agriculture, among other areas. “We have common aspiration and challenges. This calls for review of our bilateral cooperation to boost our relations,” he noted at the fullypacked meeting.
The Director of Africa in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Ambassador Samwel Shelukindo, said the Third JCC will ultimately strengthen mutual cooperation between Tanzania and Kenya.
“I am confident that we will reach a point where our cooperation will be ben eficial to our people.” President John Magufuli met President Kenyatta in Nairobi recently, where, among other things, they directed their foreign affairs ministers to ensure they meet before the end of this year. Official statistics show there were 529 Kenyan companies with a base in Tanzania where more than 3.6 trillion/- have been invested, creating more than 56,260 jobs. Trade volume between Tanzania-Kenya stands at an average of 1.7 billion US dollars annually.
Meanwhile, Tanzania said yesterday it was well prepared to further its ties with Republic of Korea. Tanzania is Africa’s largest beneficiary of Koreansupported development projects.
Korea has approved 17.1 per cent about 300 million US dollars of its total funding to Africa to support Tanzania in a span of five years from 2016. Briefing reporters in the city, Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Ministry’s Spokesperson Ms Mindi Kasiga said Tanzania was selected among four other African countries to receive Korean concessional financial support.
Other countries are Ethiopia, Angola and Mozambique. “Tanzania will participate in this year’s Korea-Africa forum of ministers to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on December 6 and 7.
Korea is expected to support Tanzania in ICT, industries and energy,” she told reporters. Already, Korea is supporting the construction of Salender Bridge, antenatal services in Dar es Salaam, Kikwete Bridge in Kigoma, Maternal Hospital in Chanika and Mloganzila International hospital in the city.