Key take-outs from President Samia Suluhu’s two-day state visit
By Jael Mboga
| May 5th 2021
Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu has today completed her two-day State visit to Kenya following an invitation from President Uhuru Kenyatta.
At the beginning of the bilateral meeting, the two Heads of State paid tribute to former Tanzania President John Magufuli now deceased.
The leaders recognised his contribution towards the course of the East African Community and in fostering cooperation between these two countries.
President Kenyatta applauded President Suluhu, being the first female President in the East African region and further congratulating her on her election as the chairperson of ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).
The two Heads of State noted the existing bilateral relations between the two countries in areas of political, defence, security, economic and social spheres, premised on geographical proximity.
The Heads of State reiterated commitment to strengthen bilateral cooperation in trade, mining, energy, livestock, transport, Defence and Security, including in combating terrorism.
To accelerate cooperation, the two Heads of State presided over the successful signing of the following two bilateral instruments:-
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the development of a natural gas export project from Tanzania to Kenya
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cooperation in culture, arts, social integration and national heritage
The two Heads of State pledged to ensure immediate implementation of the two MoUs and other instruments to be signed in future.
On trade, both leaders noted that Kenya and Tanzania are yet to fully exploit existing trade opportunities.
In that regard, they directed the ministers responsible for trade to meet as soon as possible and resolve challenges including non-tariff barriers in order to increase the volume of trade.
The ministers were also directed to meet regularly to address emerging challenges.
On tourism, the two Heads of State directed the relevant ministries to address the existing challenges on the Tourism sector and endeavor to ease movement within the tourism corridors.
On border reaffirmation, the two Heads of State took note of the commendable progress made in the reaffirmation and demarcation exercise.
They directed the responsible authorities to expedite the process by ensuring sufficient resources are committed towards the process to enable the two countries meet the 2022 timelines set by the African Union.
On health matters, and in view of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, both leaders directed the ministers responsible for Health to discuss and establish simplified systems for facilitating testing and timely issuance of results to ease the movement of people, goods and services across the common border.
Both leaders reiterated their personal commitments and that of both governments to implement projects for the mutual benefit of the two countries.
In this regard, the leaders affirmed their commitment to fast-track the implementation of air, railway, maritime and road transportation networks, including the ongoing construction of the Malindi-Lunga Lunga-Bagamoyo road; and, improvement of the connectivity between the ports of Kisumu, Bukoba and Mwanza.
To further strengthen and deepen the cooperation, the two Heads of State underscored the urgent need to convene the Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC). They directed that the Joint Technical Committees be convened to conclude consultations to allow the ministers of Foreign Affairs of the respective countries to convene the meeting soon.
On regional cooperation, the leaders exchanged views on various development matters in the East African Community (EAC) and reaffirmed their commitment to continue working together in championing the EAC integration agenda 6th EAC Development Strategy.
They also resolved to urge other EAC partner states to fulfill their financial obligations to the organisation.
On international cooperation, the two Heads of State reiterated their commitment to continue working closely at the level of the African Union (AU), as well as at the United Nations (UN), with a view to advancing the Common African Agenda for Integration and Sustainable Development.
President Kenyatta and President Suluhu addressed a Joint Business Forum during which they urged the business community to embrace the spirit of cooperation and to explore opportunities to enhance bilateral trade.
They further directed the ministers of relevant sectors to meet as frequent as possible to address the Non-Tariff Barriers and find solutions to challenges relating to trade, including business visa while respecting the laws and regulations of both countries.
President Suluhu addressed a joint sitting of the Parliament of Kenya, during which she expressed appreciation to Speakers and members of both the Senate and the National Assembly for according her an opportunity to address the joint Assembly.
The President in her address underscored the important role of Parliament in fostering and strengthening bilateral relations existing between Kenya and Tanzania.
She further emphasized the primary responsibility of Parliament to enact good laws, ensure accountability, provide oversight in development and promote good governance.
President Suluhu expressed profound gratitude and appreciation to President Kenyatta for the warm reception and hospitality extended to her and to her delegation during the State visit.
As a testimony to the existing cordial relations, President Suluhu extended an invitation to Uhuru to undertake a State Visit to Tanzania. In addition, Suluhu invited Uhuru to be the Guest of Honour during the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Independence of Tanzania mainland, to be held on December 9.
President Kenyatta thanked President Suluhu for undertaking a State Visit to Kenya and for her firm assurance to continue working closely in strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.
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