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We’re ready to cooperate, hug you: Suluhu to Kenyans as Uhuru removes border restrictions

By Brian Okoth | May 5th 2021
Tanzania’s President addressing business community members from Tanzania and Kenya at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi on May 5, 2021. [Standard]

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu on Wednesday re-emphasised her government’s commitment to strengthening trade relations between Dar and Nairobi.

In recent times, the bilateral ties between the East African neighbours have been loose following late President John Magufuli’s perceived hard-line stance in warming up to Kenyan traders in his country.

Suluhu, in a clear departure from her predecessor’s modus operandi, said Tanzania “cannot develop in isolation”, and, therefore, needed Kenya to help it realise its full cross-border trade potential.

“Nairobi has not lost its luster and has continued to flourish,” she said while addressing a gathering comprising Tanzanian and Kenyan business communities at Serena Hotel in Nairobi.

“It is my hope that companies from Kenya would be more than willing to assist their counterparts in Tanzania,” she said.

Suluhu said she was aware that the trade levels between Kenya and Tanzania have not been good “as she wanted them to be”.

“It is my hope that this business forum would allow business communities from both countries to identify investment opportunities in either of the two countries,” said the President.

“Tanzania is ready to receive business communities from Kenya; our doors are open for consultation, and our hands are open; ready to hug you and cooperate. My Government is more than ready to serve as a bridge for paving the way for cooperation between the two business communities from our two countries.”

The Head of State further stated she was happy to provide solutions to Kenyans doing business in Tanzania.

“In Tanzania, you (Kenyans) have solutions to all the trade-related hurdles you might face. In Kenya, Tanzanians have the freedom to do business,” she said.

Her remarks came after President Uhuru Kenyatta said Tanzanians are free to do business in Kenya without work permits and other Immigration documents.

“I don’t have to wait for the Cabinet to approve that decision,” said Kenyatta.

Suluhu is expected to address a joint Parliamentary sitting later Wednesday as her two-day State visit comes to an end.

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