TANZANIA and Burundi have resolved to strengthen cooperation on strategic areas, including economic infrastructure which connects the two countries.
In a joint communiqué signed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi and his Burundian counterpart Ambassador Albert Shingiro, the countries have agreed to collaborate in developing economic infrastructure, including ports, railways, aviation and marine transport in order to facilitate trade, including movement of goods, services and people.
The resolutions were reached at the Sixth Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) meeting between Tanzania and Burundi held on Friday in Kigoma Region.
Prof Kabudi said that the resolutions are aimed at strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries.
"The resolutions reached today reflect how Tanzania and Burundi are close neighbours" he said.
He mentioned other areas in which the two countries have agreed to strengthen cooperation as political, security and defence, trade and investment, mining, energy, fisheries, livestock, agriculture, tourism, protection of natural resources and environment, education, sports, culture and issues related to youth.
"We have agreed to set up strategies of conducting trade between Tanzania and Burundi ... this agreement is due to the fact that both countries have several economic opportunities," Prof Kabudi said.
He said both countries have agreed to strengthen mining and energy sectors through selling electricity between the countries and management of cross border resources such as exploration of oil and natural gas.
"We have agreed to share experience and use mineral markets of both countries, including Kigoma mineral centre to conduct mineral business," he said Both countries have also resolved to cooperate in areas of security and defence by allowing security organs to work together to ensure safety in Lake Zone regions.
Commenting on JPC, he said the meeting was an implementation of directives issued by the two heads of States, President John Magufuli and Evaristé Ndayishimiye when they met in Kigoma in September last year.
During their talks, among other things they directed us to hold this meeting before April this year.
"The meeting aimed at strengthening the cooperation between the two countries on strategic areas, including security and defence, trade and investment and development of infrastructure which connects the two countries as well social issues,” he said.
He added that Tanzania and Burundi have continued to cooperate in various spheres of mutual benefits which have helped the two countries to have joint stance on issues of broad interests.
Burundi's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation, Ambassador Albert Shingiro said the maiden state visit by Burundi President Evaristé Ndayishimiye was not unfortunate, but it was due to the long- standing relationship between the two countries.
Ambassador Shingiro` said that during his visit, the two heads of state resolved to direct more efforts in strengthening economic, political and cultural cooperation.
He however said that his country has succeeded in maintaining political stability towards its process of strengthening democracy.
"Our country has managed to conduct democratic elections for president, members of parliament, senators and local government leaders," he said.
He said following improvements in political and social- economic conditions, his country has witnessed the return of a large number of refugees who ran away from the country in 2015.
"The return of these refugees is a testimony of peace and tranquility in Burundi ... I commend the government of Tanzania for facilitating the return of our citizens," he said.