Tanzania, Poland renew impetus to strengthen relations

President Samia Suluhu Hassan shakes hands with the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, after speaking to the press at the State House in Dar es Salaam on February 9, 2024. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE

What you need to know:

  • The agreement was reached on Friday, February 9, 2024, in Dar es Salaam during the state visit of the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda who met and held talks with his host, President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania and Poland have agreed to strengthen cooperation, including starting direct flights between the two countries, with Poland also set to provide insurance to commercial banks for the implementation of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project.

The agreement was reached on Friday, February 9, 2024, in Dar es Salaam during the state visit of the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda who met and held talks with his host, President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

Speaking to the media after their closed-door talks, President Hassan said Poland was Tanzania's biggest shareholder within the European Union (EU) in economic activities and investment, especially tourism.

She said Poland was among the 10 countries whose citizens visit Tanzania in large numbers for tourism purposes, adding that Poland has also been contributing to various development activities in the country, including in the health sector.

President Hassan said the country was implementing a service improvement project in five hospitals in the country. The hospitals in the Dar es Salaam region included the Aga Khan Hospital, the Temeke Regional Referral Hospital, and the Mwanayamala Regional Referral Hospital.

She also said that they were helping the Nyamagana District Hospital in the Mwanza region.

"This visit gives us the opportunity to strengthen our economic relations with Poland, which is the 21st economy in the world. Therefore, we are happy that Poland has placed Tanzania as one of the countries they chose to strengthen relations with," said the president.

The head of state said they have agreed to cooperate in the areas of education, agriculture, trade, investment, tourism, and ICT. Other areas, according to President Hassan, include an agreement to strengthen the existing relationship and encourage more investments in strategic sectors such as industry, production, energy, mining, and the blue economy.

"I have thanked President Duda for his willingness through the Poland transport credit agency, called Kuke, to provide insurance to commercial banks for the implementation of the modern railway project (SGR) for the parts of Makutupora to Tabora and Tabora to Isaka.

This is a very important step for us in implementing this strategic project that will further open up our country.

It is also a sign that Poland recognises the importance of this project not only for the development of Tanzania but also for promoting business in the East African region and Africa in general," she said.

Moreover, the visits highlighted other areas of cooperation such as tourism, business, and investment. In recent years, Tanzania has witnessed an increase in tourists from Poland, especially Zanzibar, where 41,000 tourists who visited Tanzania last year came from Poland.

"During the past month, 6,000 tourists from Poland visited our country.” In order to further stimulate tourism and business, we have directed our experts to take steps that will enable the start of direct flights from Poland to Tanzania, and we have placed that emphasis on our colleagues in Poland as well," said President Hassan.

“We have agreed that our professional teams should sit down and talk to see where the best places to work are. In general, we have seen that business issues between us are still small, and we need more promotion," she said.

President Duda, in his remarks, thanked Tanzania for sheltering Polish citizens who were left by Russia during the rule of Joseph Stalin, saying the gesture shows the good relationship between them.

In his conversation with President Hassan, he assured her that more tourists from Poland will continue to come to Tanzania, especially in this winter period.

"Many tourists will continue to come to Tanzania because the economic situation in Poland is good and many want to come here. Many companies also expect to come to invest in Tanzania, especially Zanzibar," said President Duda.

"We have talked about strengthening cooperation in agriculture and education. There is one agricultural investment company ready to come and invest," said President Duda.

The Polish leader invited young Tanzanians to go to Poland to look for study opportunities, saying the country had excellent universities offering training in different fields, including mining engineering, ICT, and agriculture.

A visit to Aga Khan

Speaking on his visit to the Aga Khan Hospital, President Duda said that in the health sector in Tanzania, his country had invested in various hospitals, including the Aga Khan Hospital.

"Here at the Aga Khan, we have made improvements to the provision of services in the emergency department as part of the project to improve emergency care through Polish Aid and implemented by the Polish Centre for International Aid (PCPM) in collaboration with the Aga Khan," he said.

During the visit to the emergency services centre, he promised to continue cooperation through the project, saying that it has been able to provide training to various professionals involved in rescue, including the police, fire, and scouts.

He said they have also been able to provide training to doctors and other service providers involved in emergency services in the hospital about 140 times so far.

"When we started in 2022 till now, deaths in emergency services have decreased significantly. This is the result of investments made in equipment, training, and laboratories," he said.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr John Jingu said that Poland through their support centre has been able to help Tanzania in basic emergency services to strengthen emergency rescue services in road accident diseases.