TANZANIA has reiterated its continued desire to work with Kenya in forging a closer strategic partnership in pursuit of common development agenda through regional and international blocs.
The regional and international blocs include East African Community (EAC), African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN).
The Minister for Constitution and Legal Affairs, Dr Damas Ndumbaro, made the statement on behalf of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister, Dr Stergomena Tax during the commemoration of Kenya’s 58th Independence Anniversary in Dar es Salaam, on Monday.
“I wish also to reaffirm Tanzania’s commitment to continue working closely with our sisterly country Kenya in enhancing our cooperation for the mutual benefit of our governments and people,” Dr Ndumbaro said.
He expressed the Tanzanian government’s immense gratitude for the cordial and sisterly relations which exist between the governments and peoples of both countries.
“It is through our joint concerted efforts and determination that our relations and cooperation continue to grow from strength,” he asserted, noting that Tanzania’s President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan and her counterpart President William Ruto share a common economic development agenda for their people.
The minister further stressed Tanzania’s readiness to participate in the Mid-Term Review (MTR) meeting to be hosted by the government of Kenya on the agreed date to both sides.
He said it was encouraging to note that the volume of trade between two countries have kept on improving and given the great potential and opportunities that the countries have.
“I use this opportunity to encourage business communities to fully explore the enormous business opportunities that are available in two countries. The government has opened its doors wide and has put in place favourable conditions for anyone interested to invest and do business in the country,” he assured.
On his side, Kenya’s Ambassador to Tanzania, Isaac Njenga, said the two countries have over the years, continued to enjoy warm, cordial bilateral relations.
“It is equally pleasing to note that the bilateral relations between Kenya and Tanzania have continued to strengthen in recent times,” Ambassador Njenga remarked.
He said Kenya recalls the positive impact of the state visit to Kenya by President Samia in May, 2021 and the reciprocal visit to Tanzania by former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, in December, 2021.
The result of these visits was elimination of over 50 non-tariff barriers and consequently phenomenal increase in trade between the two countries.
These relations have continued to deepen further following a working visit by incumbent Kenyan President Dr William Ruto to Tanzania from 9th to 10th October, 2022.
The working visit focused on Trade and investment that remain one of the strongest pillars of our bilateral relations.
“Tanzania is a strategic trading partner whom we greatly value and with whom we wish to deepen our trade and investment relations, hence our two countries remain committed to the resolution of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) to trade where they still exist,” he affirmed.
The commitment to resolve NTBs have significantly contributed to the growth in trade between the two countries.
Kenya’s exports to Tanzania increased to 45.6 billion Kenyan Shillings (about 866bn/-) in 2021 from 31.4 billion Kenyan Shillings (about 596.3bn/-) in 2020 while imports from Tanzania nearly doubled to 50.1 billion Kenyan Shillings (about 951.4bn/-) in 2021 from 27.2 billion Kenyan Shillings (about 517bn/-) in 2020.
Overall volume of trade increased from 58.6 billion Kenya Shillings (about 1.1tri/-) in 2020 to 95.7 billion Kenyan Shillings (about 1.8tri/-) in 2021.
Plans are underway to work and resolve the outstanding trade barriers before the end of January 2023, he informed.
Tanzania and Kenya relations date back to the colonialism era. During that time, the two countries collaborated together in the fight against colonialism for the betterment of our African peoples.
These relations were further strengthened after independence by the founding fathers of our two nations, the Late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and the Late Jomo Kenyatta.