Participants accent economic diplomacy

TANZANIA: AS the government collects views on the envisaged new foreign policy, some public opinions emphasised that the document should ensure that the country further enhances its economic diplomacy.

The opinions were shared in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation gathered stakeholders to collect views on the forthcoming new policy before it is tabled in Parliament. The new policy comes after the review of the current foreign policy of 2001.

One of the speakers, Former Minister for Land, Housing, and Human Settlement Development, Prof Anna Tibaijuka, said the forthcoming policy should set a strategy to prepare professional diplomats who will strengthen economic diplomacy.

“You can have the strategies in the policy, but implementation must have a team of implementers…and this job needs experts,” Prof Tibaijuka asserted.

In line with that, Prof Tibaijuka emphasised the significance of upholding diplomatic relations in the economic development of the country.

She also commended the ministry for continuing to embrace the policy on non-alignment in the forthcoming policy, saying the policy is important for the country as it helps retain friends.

For his part, economist and National Chairman of the opposition Civic United Front (CUF), Prof Ibrahim Lipumba, emphasised the importance of having a good domestic policy that will enable the implementation of economic diplomacy.

“The success of economic democracy will depend on the effective construction of domestic policies that enable domestic economic activities and foreign investors to participate in our economy,” Prof Lipumba said.

Chief Executive Officer for Mwananchi Communications Ltd (MCL), Mr Bakari Machumu, stressed the significance of incorporating a communication strategy into the forthcoming policy to ensure understanding of economic diplomacy issues at all levels.

“The communication strategy should not wait until the policy is launched, but journalists should be involved from scratch… journalists should be part of the crafting, management, implementation, and also part of measuring the results of the implementation of this policy,” he pointed out.

Speaking earlier when opening the discussion, Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Mr January Makamba, said the government recognises the importance of involving citizens in matters concerning national and international affairs.

He added: “That’s why President Samia Suluhu Hassan directed to ensure that all stakeholders are involved and express their opinions before completing the process of amending the new Policy.” He said the government recognises the importance of the contribution from each stakeholder, saying that’s why the ministry organised various conferences to collect opinions to facilitate the process of having a productive policy that meets the expectations of Tanzanians.

Earlier in his presentation of the proposed policy, Justin Kisoka, Assistant Director for Policy and Planning in the ministry, unveiled that the forthcoming policy entails two new principles: protecting the country’s tradition and customs and addressing climate change issues.

“Other areas of emphasis in the forthcoming new policy are economic diplomacy (including new issues and strategies), the blue economy, gender and youth, diaspora participation, and promoting Kiswahili. Others include human rights (based on the country’s tradition and customs and constitution) as well as the coordination of regional and international conventions and protocols.

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