EFFORTS by President Samia Suluhu Hassan to open up the economy through cooperation with other countries globally has seen Tanzania gain more respect and credibility internationally, managing to secure grants and concessional loans worth 8.54tri/-.
Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Mwigulu Nchemba said while tabling the budget estimates yesterday before the National Assembly that the enhanced cooperation is a result of implementation of the 2020 CCM Election Manifesto and Foreign Policy anchored on economic diplomacy.
He said economic diplomacy is currently considered a central theme in the country’s Foreign Policy, whose objective is to put economic benefit first in international cooperation and relations.
“During the two years of President Samia’s leadership, the government received grants and concessional loans worth 8.54tri/-, including an interest-free loan of 1.29tri/- provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to address effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and whose contribution has been witnessed in our communities,” said Dr Nchemba.
He further indicated that the country has continued to ensure effective implementation of the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme under the IMF and the Development Policy Operation (DPO) programme under the World Bank in a strategy to support Tanzania’s inclusive and resilient recovery and growth.
“I would like to assure you that these funds have been spent in various activities to stimulate the economy, including the productive sectors, infrastructure and social services,” noted the Minister.
He urged the legislators to support the Head of State’s endeavour in facilitating achievement of her vision for the development of the nation.
Besides, the government has continued to participate in negotiations on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).
According to him, the implementation of the AfCFTA will enable Tanzania to participate effectively in trading under the Africa Free Trade Area.
Consequently, it will enhance Tanzania’s capacity in value addition through well-articulated policies geared towards promotion of technology, innovation and competition.
Tabling the budget proposal two weeks ago in the August House, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Stergomena Tax expressed the government’s commitment to continue coordinating and implementing economic diplomacy, including finalising preparations for the plan in the 2023/2024 financial year.
Dr Tax said the government was preparing a National Strategic Plan for all stakeholders to participate more effectively and efficiently in economic diplomacy.
She revealed that numerous benefits had been attained through the implementation of economic diplomacy as a cross-cutting issue, as such the plan will enable effective involvement of all stakeholders from the country to benefit more.
“Economic diplomacy is a central theme in the Foreign Policy, whose objective is to put economic benefit first in international cooperation and relations. This concept is considered in all objectives of the Foreign Policy, including those appearing political on face value,” she said.
“The plan will provide a clear definition of economic diplomacy and identify all key stakeholders in the execution of the concept…It will also set up a monitoring plan to see how it is being implemented,” Dr Tax said.
She noted that upon completion of the plan in December this year, the ministry will also allocate experts in the country’s embassies abroad to help in various areas which will need their expertise.
The minister said that the successes achieved from implementation of Economic Diplomacy in the 2022/2023 financial year include the visits of the country’s national leaders outside the country.
She said the visits brought significant economic and social benefits, including the promise by His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar to award scholarships to Tanzania medical students, build a mother and child facility and to bring health professionals to the country for the sake of sharing knowledge.
Sheikh Thani also pledged to construct secondary school classrooms and support some national strategic projects through the Qatar Development Fund.
The list highlighted signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Tanzania and Oman on cooperation in areas of higher education and vocational training, record keeping and construction of a record keeping centre.
“The signing of the agreements shall enable Tanzanians to secure training scholarships in Oman and to enable the two countries to share experiences and knowledge on issues related to record keeping and conservation,” the minister said.