FOREIGN POLICY: Samia pushes for review

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has said that the country’s foreign policy needs to be reviewed in order to keep pace with the ongoing political social and economic changes in the world.

The Head of State spoke on the need to review the document on Saturday when she met all the 45 Tanzanian ambassadors serving abroad who have been in the country since November 14 this year attending a meeting which among others is aimed at sharing their experience, challenges they are facing as well as discussing a way forward in tackling the setbacks.

President Samia said that the country needs to take a new direction in strengthening economic diplomacy which will reflect and adapt the changes taking place in the country and the world at large.

“The world economy has changed rapidly in the last decade …our foreign policy was launched 20 years ago while the last meeting for diplomats was held in 2019 we need  this kind of meeting  to see how we can accommodate  the changes  in our national foreign policy,” President Samia  said.

“This session gives us time to reflect on various issues, including new security threats and well-being of our country, health, and industrial revolution among others,” she added.

She said other issues which also need to be discussed   include global politics and emerging conflicts of interest between giant nations which have negatively affected the prices of energy, food and currency around the world.

The President further   noted that the world is also witnessing changes in the direction of the global economy, where major economic activities including production, investment, trade, creativity and innovation have moved to Asia, which currently produces about 40 percent of the world’s output.

“It is good for us to discuss how we can compete and how we can benefit” she said.

The President also directed the ambassadors to deliberate on integration in the African continent, including expansion of the East African Community by increasing its members from five to seven after South Sudan and DRC joined the regional bloc.

She also tasked them to look at the Blue Economy agenda and how they can contribute to its success, and also the promotion of Kiswahili language in the world by collaborating with Tanzanians living abroad.

“You will agree with me that these changes taking place in the world are huge and in order to adopt them we have to reorganize ourselves and, if necessary, make strategic decisions on our policies and development plans based on the broad interests of our nation,” she said.

The Head of State also directed ambassadors to improve their performance and make sure that they collaborate with all important government and non-government stakeholders to ensure diplomacy goes with time and yields more positive results.

“Reforms of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation remain important to achieve what we want. This is also worth discussing,” President Samia said as she commended the docket for submitting a foreign policy draft with the aim of discussing it.

She said what pleased her most is that the draft also aimed at safeguarding the basis of the foreign policy that has nurtured the nation for a long time.

President Samia explained that in a period of one and a half years since she assumed office, she has appointed about 61 ambassadors, a number that includes those who have been extended contracts, among them 16 are  employees from within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who are now serving in the diplomatic offices abroad.

Elaborating on those she appointed to serve in diplomatic offices President Samia said 13are women and while young people under the age of 45 are four, stressing that she is committed to ensuring gender balance in the country’s foreign diplomacy.

The Head of State said she is also focused on giving new life to diplomacy by focusing on ‘new blood’ and preparing the next generation of talented diplomats of Tanzania.

She said apart from  filling the vacant positions, the government has also  expanded the representation abroad by adding  Indonesian embassy and the consulates of Lubumbashi DR Congo and Ghounzu in China.

Dr Stergomena Tax- Minister for Foreign Affair and East African Cooperation thanked the President for her ongoing efforts in building foreign relations, and that the ambassadors’ meeting reflects her commitment in achieving the goals which include focus on economic diplomacy.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Ambassador Joseph Sokoine said the meeting is the first to be held under the 6th phase government, noting that   diplomats had enough time to discuss several issues aimed at improving their performance.


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