Tanzania and South Africa out to strengthen bilateral relations

President Samia Suluhu Hassan holds up the order of South Africa after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa presented it to her during her state visit to South Africa at the Union buildings in Pretoria yesterday. PHOTO | AFP

What you need to know:

  • The two countries have historical relations dating back to the struggle for independence in southern Africa in which Tanzania played a significant role

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania and South Africa signed memoranda of understanding yesterday as the leaders of the two nations discussed cooperation in matters related to defense and security, trade, and investment, as well as education and cultural development.

The signing was witnessed in Pretoria by President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who was on a two-day state visit to South Africa, and her host, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The two countries have historical relations dating back to the struggle for independence in southern Africa in which Tanzania played a significant role.

President Hassan met Mr Ramaphosa in Pretoria where her delegation of Cabinet ministers discussed trade opportunities and possible agreements with their South African counterparts.

This is the Tanzanian Head of State’s first official visit to South Africa since she became president following the death of her predecessor, Dr John Magufuli in March 2021.

“We have agreed to enhance our cooperation in the areas of trade and investment considering that South Africa is among the main sources of direct foreign investment in Tanzania,” said President Hassan, adding that tourism and manufacturing are the leading sectors for investment.

Some of the MoUs signed include the one on political and diplomatic consultation and the cooperation between the Mozambique-Tanzania Centre for Foreign Relations and the South African Academy of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

“It has been a fruitful state visit,” said President Hassan.

“To the people of South Africa and the people of Tanzania, this means more trade, more investment opportunities, more transfer of technologies, more education opportunities and more cultural interaction,” she added.

President Ramaphosa said trade volumes between Tanzania and South Africa continued to increase but could be improved further.

“A key aspect of our bilateral cooperation is the promotion of trade and investment between our two countries,” he said.

“President Hassan and I will be joining the South Africa-Tanzania Business Forum later today, which brings together business people from our respective countries,” he added.

He said among the industries under discussion at the business forum are agriculture and agro-processing, oil and gas, mining and infrastructure development.

The two leaders also noted their countries’ long-standing relations stretching back to the anti-colonial struggle.

Many South African anti-apartheid activists, who fled the country under persecution from the repressive white-minority government or to join the African National Congress’s underground armed movement, found refuge and received military training in Tanzania.

Mr Ramaphosa said the state visit by President Hassan will further strengthen the bilateral political and economic relations between the two countries and enhance the work of the bilateral national commission (BNC).

“We must use this opportunity to explore further areas of cooperation,” he said.

“I am pleased to learn that several Agreements and MoUs between our departments are currently at various stages of negotiation and will soon be signed and subsequently implemented,” he added.

One of the key priorities of the BNC is to increase trade and investment to promote economic development for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

“To do this, we need to address any impediments and create a conducive environment for bilateral trade and investment to flourish,” he said.