STRENGTHENING cooperation in defence and security was among major milestones that further cemented the long-existing Tanzania and Mozambique relations in the just ended 2022.
This was the outcome of President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s visit to Mozambique last year, which reflected on the grand strategy of opening up the country, while maintaining the existing peace and order not only within the two nations, but the whole of SADC region.
Indeed, the historical relations coupled with geographical set up between Tanzania and Mozambique through its shared borders, encouraged President Samia and her Mozambique counterpart President Filipe Nyusi to sign an agreement to strengthen defence and security.
Among key objectives of reaching the agreement is the fight against cross border crimes and terrorism along the two countries’ shared borders.
The two leaders unveiled the agreements at a joint press conference which took place after their closed-door meeting in Maputo as part of President Samia’s three-day state visit in Mozambique in September at the invitation of her host.
“Tanzania and Mozambique share one of the longest borders in the region and thus the cooperation agreement on defence and security will among others enable us to continue battling terrorists and eventually maintain peace and security,” President Samia stated adding; “Our people continue to enjoy good relations, which focus on preserving peace and tranquility dating back to the 1980s.”
President Samia said the two countries boast of historic relations dating back to the liberation struggle of southern African countries, under the then President of Tanzania Julius Nyerere and the leader of Mozambican Liberation Front Eduardo Mondlane.
“I believe my visit to Mozambique will rekindle our relations and play an important role in improving the welfare of our people,” she remarked.
For his part, Mr Nyusi was confident that improved bilateral relations between Tanzania and Mozambique will not only help to tackle terrorism but other crimes along the border such as drug and human trafficking.
“In our meeting with President Samia, we also discussed and shared information on progress attained by SADC (Southern African Development Community) and Rwanda forces in fighting terrorists in some northern parts of Mozambique,” President Nyusi explained.
The Mozambican leader further appreciated the role played by Tanzania in supporting the liberation struggle of southern African countries including Mozambique.
On the trade and investment front, President Samia pointed out that despite the terrorism threat; Mozambique had registered some progress in development of its natural gas reserves of which Tanzania can borrow a leaf.
“We have also agreed to cooperate on development of natural gas between our countries by sharing experience and learning from each other,” Ms Samia noted.
On the other hand, President Samia expressed concerns that trade between Tanzania and Mozambique had declined from 53bn/- to 26bn/- over the past one year.
“This is an area which we have to work on through boosting trade and investment. We have discussed with my counterpart on how to tap opportunities which are available in agriculture, fishing and mining, among others.
It is high time we promoted intra-trade amongst ourselves and shift from the tendency of trading with other countries outside the continent. This should go in line with attracting investors to invest in either of the two countries,” she urged.
President Nyusi mentioned additional areas of cooperation in trade between Tanzania and Mozambique as energy, communication and transportation.
“We have been discussing various issues of interest for the welfare of our people. Since we share the border, the two countries are determined to continue entering into cooperation agreements to promote trade and investment,” the Mozambican leader affirmed.
The two leaders as well agreed on exchange programmes for students of higher institutions of learning between the two nations and teaching of Kiswahili in Mozambique to ease communication and build cohesion.
President Samia appreciated the invitation extended to her by President Nyusi and went on to invite him to Tanzania so that they can assess implementation of issues they have agreed upon.