PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan’s state visit to Kenya has set a clear path for development and mutual understanding between the two East African nations, say political pundits.
President Samia visited Kenya on Tuesday and Wednesday on the invitation of her Kenyan counterpart, President Uhuru Kenyatta, aimed at strengthening diplomatic ties and laying the foundation for a more comprehensive economic partnership between the countries.
While in Kenya, President Samia held bilateral talks with President Uhuru on Tuesday.
The two leaders attended a high level business forum on Wednesday and later on the day Ms Samia addressed a joint sitting of Kenya’s National Assembly and the Senate.
In her three keynote speeches among other things, President Samia emphasized on the importance of strengthening the bilateral ties, inviting more investors as well as assuring the government’s commitment to support investments.
She insisted there was no reason for the two countries to scramble for few economic fortunes; rather, they should jointly strive to increase more, so that each of them could get a better share.
Giving out his thoughts to the ‘Daily News’ yesterday, an economist-cum-banker Dr Hildebrand Shayo said President Samia’s speeches to the Tanzania- Kenya business community and the bicameral parliament clearly stated Tanzania’s wishes in the bilateral relations.
Dr Shayo added that Samia’s visit laid a platform that will yield economic benefits and hence increase trade flow between the two nations, while paving the way for Tanzanian industrialists who are keen to invest in Kenya and take advantage of the logistic infrastructure already in place.
With increasing demands from a new middle class, Dr Shayo says the country desires at creating opportunities that would open up more job creation prospects.
“It is the new beginning of understanding that will boost cooperation on various multidimensional issues including border security, illegal wildlife trafficking and conservation,” he said.
“I hope to hear from our responsible ministers to keep up with the directives issued by President Kenyatta on maize saga and covid-19 test certificates. Attaining these two timely would demonstrate that what had been agreed during the state visit is starting to bear fruits,” he added.
Dr Shayo went on to explain that the rekindled Dodoma- Nairobi ties will yield measurable benefits whose multiplier effects would help to benefit a lot of value chains involved from both nations.
“The large number of business and industry leaders who will take advantage of agreements reached by our leaders will continue being important in the advancement of the already made economic relationship.”
Dr Paul Loisulie, a lecturer at University of Dodoma (UDOM) said that President Samia’s visit to Kenya has strengthened diplomatic relations between the two countries for a win-win situation.
He was of the view that since Tanzania has long standing relations with Kenya, President Samia’s visit became crucial in strengthening the ties between the two countries by clearing trade uncertainties.
“We have heard about the agreements that were reached during their meeting and the instructions the two leaders issued to the ministers, these are going to address all the challenges, going forward,” he explained.
Mr Innocent Shoo, a lecturer at the Centre for Foreign Relations, shared similar views, saying President Samia’s trip has played a great role in renewing ties and resolving perennial standoff especially on cross-border trade, including non-tariff barriers.
“I believe this meeting of the two Heads of State have strengthened our common market and customs union and would spur the spirit of East Africa integration,” said Mr Shoo.
On Tuesday, President Samia and her host Uhuru released a joint communiqué detailing areas of corporation between the two countries.
They agreed on, among other plans, development of a natural gas export project from Tanzania to Kenya, non-tariff barriers between the two countries volume of trade and ease of movement within the tourism corridors.
The leaders also agreed to fast-track implementation of air, railway, maritime and road transportation network, as well as enhancing cooperation in culture, arts, social integration and national heritage.