Indonesia president visit to spur trade

TANZANIA : INDONESIA’S President Joko Widodo has arrived in Tanzania to start his first-ever visit which is expected to open doors for both countries in social-economic spheres.

The visit is set to increase investment cooperation, health cooperation, development cooperation and exchange views on important regional and global issues.

Moreover, trade, fishing, education, the blue economy, tourism and immigration are all earmarked as priority sectors of mutual cooperation for discussion.

This is President Widodo’s first visit to Tanzania and the continent, whose major aim is to boost relations with the country.

The last visit of an Indonesian President to Tanzania was 32 years ago on December 1991.

In his twitter account, President Widodo stated: “This is my first visit to the African region, which is intended to strengthen solidarity among the countries of the global south.”

Apart from Tanzania, he will also visit Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa.  Indonesia has a long historical relationship with the continent.

He said Indonesia and Africa have a long historical relationship which can be seen in a number of major moments in history.

The country was the initiator and host of the Asian-African Conference in 1955. It also played an important role in giving birth to the Non-Aligned Movement at that time.

At a press briefing in Dar es Salaam, yesterday, Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Dr Stergomena Tax said Tanzania and Indonesia have had close bilateral relationships in the agriculture sector and this visit will cement partnership in the area of modern technology and production of better seeds for the purpose of getting a guaranteed market for farmers.

“This is a continuation as in 1996 Indonesia established Farmer’s Agriculture and Rural Training Centre (FARTC) in Mkindo, Morogoro, where Indonesian agriculture experts provide training for Tanzanian farmers,” said Dr Tax.

According to her, the countries will today sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on bilateral cooperation.

In 2004, the countries signed an MoU on the establishment of a joint commission, known as the Indonesia-Tanzania Joint Agriculture Cooperation Committee (JACC), which served as a vehicle to improve agricultural sector cooperation, such as capacity building through training, joint research and the expansion of market access to agricultural products.

She added that the two nations are both architecting the non-aligned movement, so it will become easier to help each other in many projects.

This high-level visit sets to open up more room for Jakarta- Dar Es Salaam cooperation in terms of enhancing investment in the hospitality industry, agricultural sector co-operations, such as capacity building through training, joint research and the expansion of market access to agricultural products following their established Indonesia-Tanzania Joint Agriculture Cooperation Committee (JACC), 2011.

The visit will further give light on the recent expression of interest by Indonesian government to establish a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Tanzania to increase the two countries’ bilateral trade.

The PTA would set to reduce barriers to tariff trade so that it was expected to encourage trade between the two countries official sources in Jakarta reported recently.

Indonesia has 270 million people, hence standing as a big market for Tanzania in case deliberate efforts to invest in the Southern East Asia giant economy will be fairly made.

Indonesia stands as a market potential for a big portion of Tanzanian agricultural products.

The main products that Tanzania exported to Indonesia in the past 3 years were cloves, cocoa beans and raw tobacco.

The one-day Indonesian President Joko Widodo visit in the country is envisaged to spur Tanzanian economic interest in the Southern East Asia region following the ongoing Tanzania’s industrialisation efforts towards becoming a middle-income country in the near future.

According to the United Nations Comtrade database, last year Tanzania exported to Indonesia goods worth 28.22 million US dollars.

The main exports were cloves (39.7m US Dollars), cocoa beans (7.89 million US dollars), and raw tobacco (7.89 million US dollars).

In the same year, Indonesia exported goods to Tanzania worth 74.73 million US dollars.

The main imports were palm oil (240 million US dollars), stearic acid (9.16 million US dollars) and other synthetic fabrics (8.03million US dollars).

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