Expedite foreign policy review – Committee

DAR ES SALAAM: THE Presidential Committee formed to evaluate the efficiency and performance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation and its institutions has called for fast tracking of foreign policy review.

It recommended that the new policy should be aligned with the envisioned 2050 National Development Vision.

The committee also recommended the policy to consider the changes in the country’s policies that are currently being drafted by the President’s Office (Planning Commission) and President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s 4Rs philosophy (Reconciliation, Resiliency, Reforms and Rebuilding).

The committee made the recommendations during the presentation of its report to President Samia at Magogoni State House in Dar es Salaam, yesterday.

Chairperson of the Committee, Ambassador Hassan Simba Yahaya said the review of the country’s foreign policies should also consider new areas that have an impact on the domestic and international economy and politics.

The areas mentioned by Ambassador  Yahaya include blue economy, diaspora, promoting Kiswahili language, climate change, artificial intelligence, the use of ICT, the impact of globalisation, mobilising businessmen to invest abroad, global health diplomacy, public communication diplomacy, branding and the presence of rare strategic minerals.

According to Ambassador Yahaya, the government formulated a policy in 2001 from changes involving internal policies resulting from privatisation, improvements to regulatory framework systems, setting good conditions for attracting capital from abroad and the emergence of economic and social reforms in the world caused by globalisation.

“The policy continued to carry the principles of independence and unity to protect the freedom, to decide our own affairs as a country, to respect the borders of the country, political freedom, to defend the rights of the weak, to support the implementation of the non-alignment movement and to support the participation of Tanzania in the United Nations,” Amb Yahaya said.

However, Ambassador Yahaya said that committee noted that the ministry successfully implemented the foreign affairs policy by maintaining peace, security, good neighbourhood, strengthening good relations between Tanzania and the international community and coordinating Tanzania’s participation in international organisations and regional cooperation.

Moreover, the committee recommended that the ministry be split into two, suggesting the formation of Ministry of East Africa Cooperation to manage the responsibilities of the regional bloc more closely.

The committee also calls for transferring of the responsibilities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to   the President’s Office.

On the other hand, Ambassador Yahaya said the change in the current structure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs took place in 2016 by merging the responsibilities of the two ministries that were the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations and the Ministry of East Africa Cooperation.

“Since that period, there have been major changes, including the increase in the number of member countries from three to seven that lead to an increase of responsibilities of the ministry, including fully participation in international meetings,” he added.

The committee also suggested for the ministry’s pressing need to intensify utilisation of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) in coordinating its diplomatic activities with the county’s embassies across the world.

Ambassador Yahya said as of today, ICT is not fully utilised for exchange of information between embassies and the ministry, a situation that hampers decision making and exchange of information essential for diplomatic progress.

He said change in mindset is vital to catch up with ICT uses which are the backbone of information transfer globally that among others remove bureaucracy in running diplomatic activities.

He said digital interconnection of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation and the embassies via ICT will allow swift flow of information, thus enabling instant decision making and planning.

To strengthen conference tourism, Ambassador Yahya said the committee suggests for the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) to collaborate with the private investors through Public Private Partnership (PPP) in improving services delivery and construction of new conference halls and hotels in Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Dodoma and other areas that will meet international standard to host as many international conferences as possible.

He said AICC should continue playing its promotion role of conference tourism by attracting many international conferences which also help to strengthen ties with other nations, while also generating foreign currency.

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