YEAR ENDER | 2023 Historic Visit: Harris strengthens US-TZ ties

DAR ES SALAAM: AS we bid farewell to eventful year, one notable diplomatic milestone that stands out is Vice President Kamala Harris’ historic visit to Tanzania.

The journey, filled with diplomatic discussions and cultural exchanges, marked a significant chapter in international relations.

Harris’ visit in March this year aimed to strengthen the ties between the United States and Tanzania, fostering cooperation on various fronts, including trade, security, and healthcare.

The Vice President engaged in high-level meetings with Tanzanian officials, emphasising the importance of collaboration to address global challenges.

One key highlight was the joint commitment to environmental initiatives.

Harris and Tanzanian leaders explored avenues for sustainable development and environmental conservation.

This shared vision for a greener future not only benefits both nations but also sets an example for international cooperation in the face of climate change.

The visit underscored the significance of exploring new avenues for collaboration to enhance the relationship between the two nations.

Key areas identified for intensified cooperation encompass commercial engagement, digital connectivity, investment in women and youth, promotion of democratic values, food security, marine conservation, and healthcare.

The Vice President’s visit also highlighted the significance of women’s empowerment. Harris, a trailblazer herself, met with Tanzania’s first female head of state to explore ways to improve gender equality and economic prospects.

This emphasis on inclusiveness struck a chord with both countries, emphasising their shared commitment to furthering women’s rights across the world.

Additionally, discussions on global health initiatives were at the forefront of the agenda.

The ongoing efforts to combat infectious diseases, improve healthcare infrastructure, and enhance pandemic preparedness were key areas of collaboration.

The collective commitment to tackling health challenges showcased the resilience and solidarity of nations in the face of global crises.

The Biden-Harris administration intends to provide 560 million US dollars, equivalent to 1.4tril/- in bilateral assistance in 2024 fiscal year   for Tanzania.

Harris supported Tanzania’s strides towards a more inclusive government during her weeklong journey across the continent, aligning herself with America’s efforts to bolster democracy in Africa.

Standing alongside President Samia, the first female president of Tanzania, Harris highlighted significant measures taken by the country, such as lifting the ban on opposition rallies and promoting greater press freedom.

These decisions were acknowledged as crucial and substantial advancements in the direction of democratic reforms.

The Vice President’s visit also included a focus on commercial engagement. The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) and the government of Tanzania signed an MOU to expand US-Tanzania commercial engagement by empowering US businesses to export quality, innovative goods and services to Tanzania.

The MOU, which will facilitate up to 500 million US dollars in US export financing to Tanzania, will support exports in a variety of sectors, particularly infrastructure, transportation, digital technology, climate and energy security, and power generation and distribution projects.

In addition, the United States, through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), has helped facilitate a strategic partnership between Life Zone Metals and TechMet, a leading critical metals company part-owned by the US government through the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).

Life Zone Metals entered into a Framework Agreement with the government to open a new multi-metals processing facility that will use innovative, low-emission technology to process nickel and other critical minerals mined in Tanzania, targeting the delivery of battery-grade nickel to the US and the global market as soon as 2026.

Overall, Harris’ visit to Tanzania was a significant step in strengthening the

partnership between the United States and Tanzania, and in promoting democracy and economic development in the region.

Diplomacy, cultural exchange, and collaboration are vital in navigating the

complexities of the interconnected world.

The shared goals and mutual respect established during this visit set a positive tone for the future, fostering a relationship built on understanding, cooperation, and a commitment to addressing the pressing issues of our time.

US Second Gentlemen, Douglas Emhoff, who was with his wife during the three-day working tour launched the Heshimu Bahari Project.

The project aims to conserve coastal and marine biodiversity in Tanzania, address overfishing, and mitigate the impact of climate change on marine ecosystems.

The United States, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will provide an initial 8.4 million US dollars (about 20bn/-) to support the project.

During the launch ceremony, Emhoff highlighted the gender inequalities faced by women in the fishing and coastal sectors and spoke about the effects of extreme climate change on Tanzania’s marine ecosystems.

The initiative translated as ‘Respect the Ocean’ serves as a tangible manifestation of the climate crisis confronting the Biden-Harris administration and the global challenge it seeks to address.

The focus of the project is to fortify fisheries biodiversity in both Mainland and Zanzibar, reflecting the commitment made by the US government during the US-African Leadership Summit held in Washington DC the previous year.

President Joe Biden, alongside other leaders, including President Samia, pledged to tackle environmental issues collectively.

The projected five-year funding for this initiative indicates a strategic approach to addressing climate-related concerns in the realm of fisheries.

By investing in the enhancement of biodiversity in these regions, the administration aims to make meaningful strides in sustainability, aligning with broader global objectives.

The inclusion of both Mainland and Zanzibar underscores a comprehensive approach, acknowledging the interconnectedness of ecosystems and the necessity for collaborative efforts in addressing environmental challenges.

Furthermore, the project reflects the   administration’s commitment to fostering international partnerships in the fight against climate change.

Collaborating with global allies and partners is crucial to advancing shared goals related to climate adaptation and resilience.

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