Dar, Nairobi pledge stronger ties

  • Joint cooperation commission directed to meet soon
  • Magufuli welcomes Kenyan business people to Tanzania
TANZANIA and Kenya have reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen bilateral relations, directing an urgent meeting of the joint commission for cooperation before end of this year.
President John Magufuli, who is in Kenya for a two-day state visit following an invitation by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, said Kenyans wishing to do business with Tanzania are welcome to do so, stressing that “citizens of the two countries are brothers’’.
At a news conference with his host at the State House in Nairobi, Dr Magufuli said statistics at the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) show that Kenya is the leading investor among African countries investing in Tanzania with investment amounting to 1.7 billion US dollars.
“There are 529 companies from Kenya in Tanzania that have created more than 56,000 employment opportunities to Tanzanians. These statistics make Kenya the leading African country investing in Tanzania. Tanzania considers Kenya as its number one trading partner,” he pointed out.
Trade volume between the two countries has increased from 652.9bn/- in 2010 to 2.044 trillion/- by early this year, President Magufuli pointed out, assuring Kenyans of Tanzania’s brotherly love.
He said his visit to Kenya was aimed at among other things “to cement the good relationship that has existed between Kenya and Tanzania,” initiated by Kenya and Tanzania’s founding fathers -- Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
Dr Magufuli assured Kenyans that he was always in touch with President Kenyatta on phone -- discussing pertinent issues facing the two countries and the region. “I am always in touch with President Kenyatta on phone.
However, because phone calls cannot get seen in public, some people don’t know this and so today, I want to say that we have always been in touch,” he stressed. President Magufuli said he was in Nairobi to explain his policies meant to make Tanzania a better place to invest and enable it to move forward.
“I have told President Kenyatta about the reality in Tanzania to enable it move forward. We want Tanzanians to pay tax, fight corruption and enable the country to move forward. I believe that if we go at that pace, we can reach the level where we believe we are taking our country to acceptable places,” he explained.
The president also expressed his appreciation for the support extended to Tanzania from Kenya during the earthquake in Kagera Region.
Early yesterday morning when he arrived in Nairobi, President Magufuli was received by his host, President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto and was accorded full military honours, complete with a 21-gun salute.
The reception also included a colourful guard of honour -- as well as the playing by the military brass band of the two countries’ national anthems and that of the East African Community (EAC) Dr Magufuli began his itinerary by laying a wreath at the mausoleum of Kenya’s founder President, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, before proceeding to the State House for the formal reception.
President Kenyatta, on the other hand, expressed his gratitude to Dr Magufuli for honouring his invitation to visit Kenya, affirming that Kenya will continue to strengthen relationship and cooperation with Tanzania.
“To us, Tanzanians are our brothers and sisters...we have a long relationship with our brothers and sisters and we will continue this good relationship and cooperation that was initiated by our forefathers,” President Kenyatta stressed.
He noted that Kenya and Tanzania had a lot of things in common, including peaceful and democratic change of governments and among other issues agreed between the two heads of state, including assisting other nations in the region, when faced with various challenges.
President Kenyatta said Kenya will continue working with Tanzania in implementing joint projects, including the Bagamoyo (Tanzania) and Malindi (Kenya) ports and other ventures that would be outlined by the joint cooperation commission.
President Magufuli was yesterday expected to attend a state banquet hosted in his honour by President Kenyata at the State House in Nairobi. Today Dr Magufuli will visit Eldoville Dairies in Karen area in Nairobi and open the Southern Bypass road in Nairobi before returning home.

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