TZ well set for VP Harris historic visit

TANZANIA is well set for the US Vice-President Kamala Harris historic visit into the country, in which, the government said on Monday, it will further strengthen ties between the two countries and promote ‘increasing investments.’

Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Dr Stargomena Tax told journalists in Dar es Salaam on Monday that VP Harris will arrive tomorrow at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam and will be welcomed by the Vice-President Dr Philip Mpango.

Minister Tax said Ms Harris will be officially welcomed by President Samia Suluhu Hassan at the Magogoni based State House in Dar es Salaam on Thursday morning, where they will discuss various issues pertaining to relations of the two countries. She will be in the country for three days.

On the same day, VP Harris will lay a wreath at a solemn memorial for victims of a 1998 US Embassy terrorist bombing in Dar es Salaam that killed dozens.

According to Dr Tax, the US VP will also visit the Tanzania Startup Association, which is an umbrella membership-based organisation that brings together stakeholders of startup ecosystem in the country.

On the same day, Ms Harris will also have time to take part at an iftar organised for her and other dignitaries by President Samia.

“This visit is in response to an invitation by President Samia in April last year, when she visited the US to launch the Royal Tour documentary,” she said, adding that it is to fulfill President Joe Biden’s promise of strengthening diplomatic relationship with Africa, which he made during a US – Africa Summit in Washington D.C in December last year.

During the summit which was also attended by President Samia, the US president also promised that top leaders of the current administration will visit Africa.

Dr Tax said VP Harris visit which is as a result of President Samia’s efforts to strengthen democracy and economic diplomacy, will come with lots of benefits for both countries, key of which being to strengthening historical diplomatic relationships the two countries have been enjoying for over 60 years.

“The maiden visit of US Vice-President Kamala Harris to Tanzania is expected to bolster bilateral ties between the two countries and promote a number of areas for cooperation,” said Dr Tax.

Explaining why it is a historic visit, Dr Tax said it is because Ms Harris is the first woman to become the Vice- President of the US and she is visiting Tanzania, which is the first East African country to have a female president – Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan.

This is also the first visit of one of the top leaders of the current US administration to visit Africa, which significantly reflects a growing awareness that the US needs to deepen its engagement with the continent.

VP Harris arrived in Ghana on Sunday from where she then proceeded to Tanzania, before concluding her trip by visiting Zambia.

She outlined other benefits of the visit apart from strengthening diplomatic ties as development of strategic sectors that include health, economic empowerment of women, girls and young businesspeople, tourism and environmental conservation.

Speaking on relations between the two countries, Dr Tax said in February 1968, the two countries signed agreement in areas of economic and expertise relations and in August 2016, they also signed the strategic assistance agreement.

Key areas of cooperation she said are in the areas of economic growth such as business, agriculture, food security, natural resources, health, education, tourism and environment conservation. Other areas included strengthening democracy and good governance.

She further said US government has also initiated various programmes in Tanzania that have played a significantly role in improving the living standard of the people. She mentioned some of them as US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and Feed the Future.

On arrival in Ghana last Sunday, VP Harris said she wanted to promote “increasing investments,” the “economic empowerment” of women, girls and young businesspeople, “digital inclusion” and food security in light of mounting challenges from climate change.

Equally, the Vice President hopes to build on themes of African innovation and technology, regional security, food security, women empowerment, climate and democracy, officials said. And she’ll bring with her continent-wide public and private sector investments.

“The Vice President is visiting the three countries where the government (is) investing in democracies, specifically at a time where we know there is global democratic recession,” a senior administration official told reporters, adding that “the United States believes Africa is critical to addressing global challenges. And we view her visit as another opportunity to consult and engage with partners on our shared objectives.”

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