EARLY this week, Tanzania received Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on a two-day state visit. Brief as it was, it was nevertheless a landmark visit by a leader from a country, which is purely African geographically; as it is the guardian of the northern gate of Africa - being a linkage to the Middle East - as it is also culturally Arab.
For Tanzanians of the old generation, the visit of the Egyptian President was a pleasant reminder of the founding father of the Egyptian Revolution, Gamal Abdel Nasser who was very close to our Father of the Nation here, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
The two men had cooperated very closely during the battle for the liberation of Africa from conventional colonialism and apartheid as it can be remembered that that icon African freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela had spent some considerable time of his youth training in Egypt.
That was of course in the sixties and the subsequent years when the focus was on the liberation struggle in Southern Africa. Both men, Mwalimu and Gamal Abdel Nasser worked very closely towards the liberation of the continent.
Now in subsequent years after most of the African continent was freed from conventional colonialism and later culminating into an apartheid free South Africa, the two leaders had their focus on the economic liberation of Africa and other developing countries.
We had then an active Nonaligned Movement (NAM), which both men played a leading role in its leadership bringing in its wake, South-South Cooperation, or cooperation between developing countries.
Unfortunately being human beings, the inevitability of their departure arose. Egypt had lost its most remarkable leader Ga mal Abdel Nasser much earlier than Mwalimu Nyerere in 1999. But the agenda they set, cooperation between developing countries remained.
So in a wider context, what we have learned after the visit of the Egyptian leader this week is consistent with the wishes of the founding fathers of the two nations, Egypt and Tanzania.
A report in this newspaper following the visit of the Egyptian leader says Tanzania and Egypt are poised to for greater mutual economic cooperation with Tanzania benefitting most immensely on Egypt’s renowned irrigation farming, pharmaceuticals and the health sector over and above industrialisation.
According to President Magufuli, Egypt is willing to beef up support in the health sector, enabling Tanzania’s leading hospital, Muhimbili to perform kidney surgeries before 2020 as well as Zanzibar to support the island with experts and medical supplies.
Egypt is also set to build a pharmaceutical factory to manufacture high quality drugs at afford prices, thus helping the government here to reduce its imports of medicines and other medical needs.
According to this newspa per report, quoting President Magufuli: “Egypt is among countries that manufacture high quality medicines at affordable prices. Tanzania will benefit from affordable drugs employment and revenue in the event this sister country moves to build a pharmaceutical factory here.”
The two countries have also agreed to increase trade, with Egypt expressing interest to construct a meat processing factory in this country given its immense domestic animals wealth which meat will be packaged and shipped for external markets.
Other deliberated areas of cooperation include agriculture and tourism. Egypt Air and Air Tanzania are set to cooperate to boost tourism, according to this newspaper’s report. Given this country’s huge water resource as reflective in its dozen plus rivers, Egypt has offered its expertise in irrigation agriculture as part of its bilateral cooperation endeavors.
At continental level, Cairo reports indicate that the volume of trade between Egypt and the rest of African countries surged to 4.8 billion dollars as against 4.5 billion dollars in the preceding year.
As a reader of this perspec tive, what you have sampled thus far is the capability of both Tanzania and Egypt in enhancing economic ties not to mention the overall African picture or that between developing countries on South-South agenda.
Clearly, there is a lot to gain between Tanzania and Egypt at bilateral level – taking into consideration the strides Egypt has made in the intervening period of its sovereignty. For those who know the advances Egypt has made in medicine and health services, there will a lot to gain in this country in the event a pharmaceutical factory was to be set up here.
In ordinary life, those reading these lines, some of them may not be visiting the washing room frequently, due to some problem in their digestive system. If you asked me what could be the best drug for this problem, I will not hesitate to tell you, although I am not a medical doctor!
There is a laxative, which I have used from time to timeproduced in Egypt. The name is ‘Normalax’ while another one is ‘Picolax’. It is in small liquid like bottles. Swallowing three drops when you have concluded your dinner will make you happy the following day as you visit the washroom for a long call! I have visited several leading pharmacies in Dar es Salaam.
They are currently not available! So it will make a hell of a difference if Egypt is to build a pharmaceutical factory here, isn’t it? With the visit of the Egyptian leader to our country and what has been pledged, Tanzania and Egypt are poised as great and remarkable models for South-South Cooperation or in a wider picture, cooperation between developing countries of the world, otherwise known as Third World countries.