African leaders have resolved to hasten development and improve people’s lives through investing heavily in development projects, President John Magufuli said yesterday.
Dr Magufuli, speaking at the launch of the Southern Bypass in Nairobi, said inter-country highways and One Stop Border Posts (OSBP) were among the strategic moves African leaders were pursuing to boost trade amongst their countries.
“People need development and this (road) is what development is ... this road will uplift the economy and boost social development,” said President Magufuli who was on a two-day state visit to the neighbouring country.
Dr Magufuli commended his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta and his government for the execution of the grand project, which will not only benefit Kenyans but all East Africans who travel using the roads that pass through the capital, Nairobi.
President Magufuli challenged contractors to perform their duties with high level of precision, threatening to blacklist all shoddy performers in Kenya from operating in Tanzania. He said the shared vision of the two countries entails construction of equally high-standard roads.
“I want you to maintain the quality I am seeing here throughout the project ... in case of any defect, you should repair it promptly because that is how you build your reputation,” he told contractors, hinting that the 28 kilometre dual carriageway would facilitate social and economic development in Kenya as well as easy movements of other people from the neighbouring countries, passing through the city.
President Kenyatta said construction of the bypass has helped to reduce traffic jams in the city and will improve development, noting that the road-expansion programmes by the two countries will contribute to development in the East African region.
“We continue pushing our ministers to ensure the projects we are working on are completed. These development projects are useful ... our duty is, instead of dividing the people who live on the borders, to provide them with infrastructure that will bring them together,” said President Kenyatta.
The road-expansion programme covers Malindi in Kenya to Bagamoyo in Tanzania through Saadani and the Voi-Taveta-Holili-Arusha roads. Earlier, before the bypass launch, President Magufuli visited Eldoville Dairies, a family owned enterprise that specialises in production of dairy products. Dr Magufuli said Africa has the potential of turning itself into a donor continent should all countries partner in the development and exploitation of their huge natural resources.
Speaking at a state banquet that President Kenyatta hosted in his honor, Dr Magufuli underscored the need for African countries to partner in development for the benefits of their citizens.
“With EAC’s population of 165 million people, the regional economic blocs of COMESA and SADC with a combined population of over 400 million and other African economic blocs like ECOWAS, the continent can become a donor community,” he said on Monday night.
Dr Magufuli who chairs the East African Community (EAC) asked the African nations to remain watchful against foreign forces bent on fuelling turmoil within the continent for selfish amotives.
“Why, for instance, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with all its vast natural resources be wallowing in poverty,” he queried. President Kenyatta described the presence of many Kenyan investors in Tanzania as a clear testimony that the citizens of the two neighbouring countries were brothers and sisters.
The presidents emphasised that EAC member states are not in competition with each other, but complement one another for the mutual benefit of their citizens.
“The success of the Kenyan economy is beneficial to Tanzanians and the success of Tanzanian economy is equally good to Kenyans,” President Kenyatta said, noting that the Magufuli visit has opened a new chapter in cementing the bilateral and brotherly relations between the two countries.