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Africa News of Thursday, 6 May 2021

Source: thecitizen.co.tz

You have Uhuru, we have Suluhu, let’s do business - President Samia

President Uhuru Kenyatta with President Samia Suluhu President Uhuru Kenyatta with President Samia Suluhu

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu ended her Kenyan visit on a high note with a sprightly address to both houses of Parliament that extolled relations between the two countries and listed resolutions and agreements reached in her two-day tour of Nairobi.

Trade, health, infrastructure, gas, culture and tourism are among the key economic sectors discussed in the bilateral talks between President Samia and her Kenyan host, President Uhuru Kenyatta.

President Suluhu interspersed her public addresses with light moments intended to publicly display Tanzania’s camaraderie towards Kenya, helping to ease tension that had built during the last months of the late President John Pombe Magufuli’s rule, when the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted cross-border trade.

“You’re lucky to have on this side of the border Uhuru (freedom) to do business and on the other Suluhu (solution) to all trade barriers, it’s now all up to you,” President Suluhu quipped as she addressed business leaders at a Nairobi hotel, to loud applause from the audience.

While addressing Parliamentarians, President Suluhu joked about the Swahili spoken in Kenya, terming it as “highly entertaining.” She brought to life the globally famous annual wildebeest migration by making fun of “the animals that come to Kenya to mate and cross the border to Tanzania to give birth.”

In a Joint Communiqué issued later in the evening by both Presidents, the two leaders said they started their bilateral meeting by paying tribute to the late John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, the Fifth President of Tanzania who passed on in March.

“The leaders recognised his immense contribution towards the course of the East African Community and in fostering and nurturing bilateral relations and cooperation between these two countries,” the communiqué from State House stated.

“The two Heads of State noted with satisfaction the existing bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries in areas of political, defence, security, economic and social spheres, premised on geographical proximity and demographic fraternity,” the brief added.

Kenya and Tanzania also reiterated commitment to strengthen bilateral cooperation in trade and investment, mining, energy, livestock, transport, defence and security; including in combating terrorism and transnational organised crimes, for the mutual benefit of the two countries and their peoples.

The two Heads of State presided over the signing of two bilateral instruments, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Development of a Natural Gas Export Project from Tanzania to Kenya and the MOU on Cooperation in Culture, Arts, Social Integration and National Heritage.

They pledged to ensure immediate implementation of the two MoUs and other instruments to be signed in future.

Both leaders directed ministers responsible for trade to resolve non-tariff barriers in order to increase the volume of trade. The Ministers were also directed to meet regularly to address emerging challenges.

They directed responsible authorities to expedite the reaffirmation and demarcation of the border by ensuring that sufficient resources are committed towards the process to enable the two countries meet the 2022 timelines set by the African Union (AU).

Ministers responsible for Health were directed to meet, in order to discuss and establish simplified systems for facilitating testing and timely issuance of Covid-19 results, to ease the movement of people, goods and services across the common border.

On tourism, they directed their ministries to address the existing challenges to ease movement within the tourism corridors.

They affirmed their commitment to fast track the implementation of air, railway, maritime and road transportation networks, including the on-going construction of the Malindi-Lunga Lunga-Bagamoyo road and improvement of the connectivity between the ports of Kisumu, Bukoba and Mwanza.

“To further strengthen and deepen the cooperation, the two Heads of State underscored the urgent need to convene the Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC),” the communiqué said.

They directed that the Joint Technical Committees be convened immediately to conclude consultations, to allow the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the respective countries to convene the meeting of the JCC as soon as possible.

On Regional Cooperation, the leaders exchanged views on various development matters in the East African Community (EAC) and reaffirmed their commitment to continue working together in championing the EAC integration agenda 6th EAC Development Strategy. They also resolved to urge other EAC Partners States to fulfill their financial obligations to the Organization.

On international Cooperation, they reiterated their commitment to continue working closely at the level of the AU, as well as at the United Nations (UN), with a view to advancing the Common African Agenda for Integration and Sustainable Development.

The two leaders later addressed a Joint Business Forum during which they urged the Business Community to embrace the spirit of cooperation between the two countries and to explore opportunities to enhance bilateral trade and investment.

They further directed the Ministers of relevant sectors to meet as frequently as possible to address the Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) and find solutions to challenges relating to trade, including business visas, while respecting the laws and regulations of both countries.

In her address to Parliament, President Suluhu underscored the important role of parliament in fostering and strengthening bilateral relations existing between Kenya and Tanzania.

She further emphasised the primary responsibility of parliament to enact good laws, to ensure accountability, to provide oversight in development, and to promote good governance.

In conclusion, President Samia invited President Kenyatta to a State Visit in Tanzania and to be the Guest of Honour during the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Independence of Tanzania mainland, to be held on December 9, 2021.

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