Dar, Addis bag 14 major deals

TANZANIA and Ethiopia have agreed to widen cooperation in 14 major areas that aim to boost development and strengthen diplomatic relations between the two countries.

President John Magufuli revealed yesterday, during a joint press briefing at the State Houses Jakaya Kikwete Hall, that after a successful closed door meeting between him and the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, the two countries agreed to work together in different sectors for the mutual benefit of the people in the two countries.

At a joint press briefing, the two leaders agreed to extend cooperation in the sectors of aviation, industries, agriculture, telecommunication, mining, education and energy.

They also agreed on VISA exemptions, cargo transportation via the Dar es Salaam Port, taxation, sports, promoting Kiswahili language, efficient use of the Nile River as well as cooperation between the army in both countries.

The two leaders also witnessed the signing of two agreements on Strategic Partnership and an agreement on establishment of a joint ministerial commission as well as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of tourism.

On Strategic Partnership, the two countries agreed to work together on the fight against illegal immigrants as well as extending cooperation on trade, investment and health especially in the fight against malaria. The MoU on tourism aims at providing opportunity for investment and training to stakeholders in the tourism sector.

Mr Desalegn said the landmark agreements between the two countries will help in lifting the people in the two countries from poverty. If we help each family in Ethiopia and Tanzania to have 100 US dollars, we are likely to generate billions of dollars in our countries, he insisted. The Ethiopian leader underscored the need to invest in agriculture insisting on close ties between the two countries.

On the agricultural transformation agenda, we have a good example of Tanzania which is doing quite well; so if we work together, I believe we shall prosper and help our people to get out of poverty, he insisted. According to Dr Magufuli, the Ethiopian Prime Minister agreed during their meeting to strengthen cooperation between Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) and Ethiopian Airline on issues of trade.

Dr Magufuli added that the Ethiopian airline will establish a cargo hub in Dar es Salaam for transferring consignments and that it will be the largest hub in Africa.

The Ethiopian airline has big aircrafts and several destinations worldwide and in Tanzania it has three destinations - Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro, he added.

The cooperation, Dr Magufuli said, will help in training and aircraft maintenance and expressed optimism that the two leaders believe it will be possible through the experts from both countries.

Dr Magufuli added that because Ethiopia is a landlocked country, in their meeting, the two leaders agreed that Ethiopia use the port of Dar es Salaam in the transfer of cargo.

On industries, Dr Magufuli said Tanzania will borrow a leaf from the successful Ethiopian leather industries that have so far helped in boosting its development. In regard to the Nile River, the two leaders agreed that all countries where the river passes through should benefit from it and came into an agreement that no one should monopolise it.

Again, Dr Magufuli said because Ethiopia had succeeded in the construction of special dams from the Nile waters, the Ethiopian Prime Minister agreed to send a team of experts who will help Tanzania to have the same projects so that electricity tariffs can go down.

In what appears to be a sign of stronger diplomatic ties between the two countries, Dr Magufuli revealed that the two leaders had agreed to have VISA exemptions between the two countries.

He welcomed Ethiopian investors to invest in Tanzania after scraping the VISA complications. Again, he said, The Ethiopian Prime Minister has agreed to establish an embassy in the designated capital of Dodoma and I have promised to offer him a piece of land for office establishment, he said.

On education, the two leaders agreed to have an exchange programme whereas Mr Desalegn said he will choose one university in his country that will be teaching Kiswahili language as Dr Magufuli promised to offer him lecturers in the quest to promote the language.

Mr Desalegn arrived in the country yesterday for a two-day state visit. His visit is in response to last months invitation by President Magufuli to the Ethiopian leader. He was received by Dr Magufuli at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA), where he received a 21-gun salute from members of the military before inspecting a guard of honour.

He was later entertained by groups of traditional dancers. In the evening he was welcomed by his host to a State Banquet prepared in his honour by Dr Magufuli. The Ethiopian Prime Minister is expected to visit the Port of Dar es Salaam today morning, before departing for Addis Ababa, later.

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