ANALYSTS have hailed Tanzania and Ethiopia for strengthening ties, hinting that the move will heighten and push increased trade and investment opportunities.
Trade relations between Tanzania and Ethiopia have risen between 2012 and 2019 from 1.5bn/- to 13.5bn/- respectively.
Data from the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) indicate that 13 Ethiopian projects worth 14.57 million US dollars have been registered in the country.
On Monday Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde said the investment and trade gap between African countries has to be bridged by African investors in their continent.
University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) lecturer in economics Prof Humphrey Moshi said the decision taken by President John Magufuli to request his counterpart to offer experts in leather and meat industries was commendable.
Prof Moshi pointed out that as compared to other foreign countries in Europe, Asia and others, the setting of the two countries does not differ making Ethiopia a best place to seek knowledge, expertise as well as investors.
Apart from promoting business and investment, he noted that the initiative will further heighten the existing ties between Dar es Salaam and Addis Ababa, particularly at this time when most foreign nations are ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In this regard, Prof Moshi called upon the government to focus on improving the business environment which will promote more trade and investment between African countries while better positioning the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He said this will ease the cost of doing business between the countries, noting that the government should uphold the practice of promoting trade within the continent.
Prof Mushi was also of the view that the government should embark on regular evaluation to ensure the partnership is beneficial to the country.
On the other hand, an economist-cum-banker Dr Hildebrand Shayo said that the economic model of Ethiopia is common everywhere. Tanzania needs to study and contextualise the approach into the country’s setting, he added.
“Ethiopian has done it, we can also do it…the government’s commitment and investment to pro-poor sector, with support to truly development partners enabled the country’s investment to yield positive results seen in the manufacturing sector, value addition and transportation sector,” said Dr Shayo.
He observed that through the export designated zones and their effective supportive environment have boosted Ethiopia’s economic trajectory to be one of the well performing nations in Africa.
Equally, Ethiopia places high value on partnerships which together allows the private sector to align government agenda in their plans. The move has enabled the country to be amongst the top 10 fastest growing economies in the world.
Ethiopian President Zewde pledged to develop and maintain the partnership established by the founders of the two countries Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania believing that the partnership will bring the two nations to an advanced economy level.
“We are going to do our best Mr President in having the joint commission between Ethiopia and Tanzania in the nearest future possible between March and April of this year so that we enhance this cooperation,” she said.
“Because we believe that the relationship between countries like Tanzania should be based on solid grounds, this is why the joint commission will have a task of reviewing the agreements to make sure they are being implemented as well as explore other areas,” she noted.
In a unique way the Ethiopian President acknowledged the role of Tanzania in Africa as she stated that Tanzania is a key country in Africa.
“Tanzania is the key country in Africa not only in the region but to the whole Africa for us from the horn of Africa; it is the link between the Eastern Africa to the Southern because it belongs to the two blocs,” she explained.
She further noted that both countries should take advantage of livestock keeping as they are the leaders in the continent.
Tanzania and Ethiopia enjoy good relations which started in the 1960s when the two countries were under the leadership of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Sellasie.
The relationship dates back to 1963 when Tanzania opened its embassy in Ethiopia, after the formation of Organisation of African Unity, the forerunner of the current African Union.
Ethiopia also opened its embassy in Tanzania in 2018 to cement diplomatic relationship between the two countries.
The countries also cooperate on tourism, works, security, industries as well as culture.