What Harris’ visit means to TZ

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, pundits have forecasted.

Ms Harris and her delegation will visit three African countries – Tanzania, Ghana and Zambia from 25 March to 2 April to discuss regional and global priorities, including shared commitment to democracy, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, food security, and the effects of war between Russia Ukraine,” according to a readout from her office.

The US Embassy in Tanzania has confirmed the visit of its Vice-President to the East African nation later this month.

Through its official twitter handle @usembassytz, it said that, the visit is in response to President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s invitation.

According to the embassy, this is another milestone in the US – Tanzania six decades partnership. The visit comes eleven months after VP Harris met with President Samia Suluhu Hassan at the White House.

Speaking to ‘Daily News’ separately, the pundits said the visit symbolises a new beginning for both nations-a partnership built on mutual respect and mutual benefit.

An Economist-cum-banker Dr Hildebrand Shayo said Harris’s visit to Tanzania marks an important step forward for the US and Tanzania. He said it also signals Tanzania’s readiness to work with the US to forge a better future of open societies and shared responsibilities.

“Under Dr Samia’s leadership, Tanzania has continued to flourish. It remains a vivid example of what democracy and open markets can do for a nation that is determined.  Over the past few years, our economy has grown steadily, and Tanzanians are enjoying an independent judiciary, a lively Parliament, and a thriving civil society. The United States needs strong partners like Tanzania,” he said

Dr Shayo further said the friendship between Tanzania and the US, following Dr Samia’s visit is growing deeper. Harris’s visit to Tanzania underscores the commitment all Americans owe to Tanzania for the brilliant contributions that Tanzanian Americans have made and continue to make to the US.

This visit, he said no doubt, will provide Tanzanians, especially emerging businesses championed by the private sector with the opportunity to discuss issues of interest to these two countries.

“Tanzania, as you must be aware, and the US share commitments to democracy, to conflict resolution, regional peace, and security and most of all, to expand ties between the two countries,” said Dr Shayo.

For his part, the President of Tanzania Association of Accountants (TAA), Mr Godvictor Lyimo, said the visit will give confidence to American investors to come to Tanzania and products made in Tanzania will be accepted in the US.

“Small Scale Entrepreneurs (SMEs) will also get an opportunity that can connect them with their peers in the US for exchanging skills and knowledge,” he said.

Mr Lyimo further said, Harris’ visit to Tanzania is a sign that US doors have been opened for Tanzania, so everyone should grab the opportunities since the ones provided by African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Tanzania did not utilise it properly.

The Public Relations Manager and lecturer at Centre for Foreign Relations (CFR), Mr Innocent Shoo, said the main goal of Harris’s visit is to strengthen development cooperation between the two countries in various sectors like health, agriculture, tourism, transportation, blue economy, communications, digital economy, support to efforts to climate change mitigation and its importance.

“Further, is to strengthen business agreements and investments through creativeness, entrepreneurship, and women economic empowerment,” he said

Mr Shoo further said it was clear that the deliberate diplomatic efforts by Dr Samia are yielding fruits relating to friendship between Tanzania and the USA.

“During the US Africa Summit, President Samia had the opportunity to speak with VP Harris.”

“One can see how a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has opened up for Tanzania to be visited by a high-ranking US government official and chosen from among more than 50 African countries.

“This is an important opportunity for these two countries to strengthen their friendship,” Mr Shoo said.

An expert on economic diplomacy, Prof Kitojo Wetengere sees the visit by the US Vice-President as a sign of trust on Tanzanian economic and political aspects.

He said, US views Tanzania as a proper partner basing on the latter’s convincing power among African countries.

“Tanzania is trusted by many African countries based on its history and contributions during and post-independence struggles,” said Prof Wetengere.

More so, the visit will cement further the existing bilateral ties through which, Tanzania is now implementing economic diplomacy policy for the sake of enhancing the economy through multilateral cooperation.

A Lecturer at the Tumaini University Dar es Salaam College (TUDARCO) Rachel Yusuph said the maiden visit by Ms Harris indicates that Tanzania is in a top list of African countries that have great potential in the eyes of the international community.

“Putting our country in a list of three African nations that she will visit in her first maiden visit to the continent, is a clear indication of the cordial relations between US and Tanzania,” she said.

She said the visit will put Tanzania in the spotlight where the rest of the world will be looking at what the two countries are doing as per the agreed areas of cooperation.

For a long time, the US has been supporting Tanzania in various areas of cooperation such as strengthening democracy as well as supporting welfare of women and children’s health, HIV/AIDS, nutrition and food security, inclusive economic growth, wildlife conservation, sustainable development, and security.

More so, there are several exchange programmes that bring Tanzanians to the US, a list includes the Fulbright Programme, Hubert Humphrey Fellowship, and Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

Ms Harris will become the most senior official from the Joe Biden administration to travel to Africa, when she stops by a trio of US-friendly countries later this month ahead of an upcoming visit by the president himself.

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