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Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu to visit Kenya ‘this week’

Tanzania’s new President Samia Suluhu Hassan

Tanzania’s new President Samia Suluhu Hassan addresses the National Assembly as the first female President in the country’s history, at the Parliament in Dodoma, Tanzania, on April 22, 2021. If the visit goes ahead as planned, the Tanzanian leader, who took over from John Pombe Magufuli following his death in March, will be coming to Nairobi nearly five years since her predecessor made a similar visit.

The trip was confirmed by two diplomats familiar with the arrangement. She has the responsibility of correcting the continuous trade tiffs between the two neigbouring countries.

In a speech to Parliament last week, President Suluhu told legislators that her administration will pursue economic diplomacy with partners in the region and across the world, signaling intent to repair relations with the outside world.

 

“If you call it a change, then it will be a renewed effort on economic diplomacy,” she said, referring to better ties with the East African Community, Southern Africa Development Community and the recent Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).

Collaboration

President Suluhu’s policy, she pledged, will run on a smoother domestic programme to attract investors, while sustaining relations with key partners the country trades with.

She thinks her diplomats must work better at making the country attractive rather than being an island. “Our diplomatic staff have to be competent in striking deals in investment and trade promotion as well as seek strategic partners in tourism”, she said.

The itinerary of the planned Kenyan trip had not been made public by Saturday with officials indicating there were still final touches to be made. But the Sunday Nation understands she intends to meet with business lobbies in Nairobi, after holding talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta to discuss bilateral issues.

Renewed trust

This would be her first State visit since taking power, although she has already made an official trip to Uganda where the two countries signed a multi-billion-dollar oil pipeline deal with French oil giant Total and China’s CNOOC.

Frequent non-tariff wars with Kenya have slowed down trade to an average of Sh40 million a year, down from Sh64 billion during Jakaya Kikwete’s era.

Nairobi has indicated renewed trust in the organs of the East African Community whose secretariat is now headed by Kenyan, Dr Peter Mathuki. “We intend to sort out the issues through the established organs of the EAC,” said Johnson Weru, PS for Trade when asked on Kenya’s plan to eliminate the trade wars. – nation.co.ke