What Samia's UN General Assembly participation means

Sunday September 19 2021
Samia pic

President Samia Suluhu Hassan landed at the JF Kennedy Airport in the US ahead of the Unga 76th session in New York. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE

By Louis Kalumbia

Dar es Salaam. Economics and political experts yesterday commended President Samia Suluhu Hassan for the decision to attend the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly (Unga), saying this would significantly benefit Tanzania.

President Hassan left the country for her maiden trip outside Africa since she was sworn-in as the Head of State in March, this year.

She is expected to address the Unga on Thursday, September 23, and attend discussions on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to the statement.

“She is also expected to meet heads of state and leaders of international organisations aimed at strengthening relationships with those countries and organisations,” reads the statement in part, signed by the director of presidential communications, Mr Jaffar Haniu.

This is her first trip outside the continent since March 19, 2021, when she assumed office following the sudden death of President John Magufuli.

However, she has travelled to Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, and Burundi in her efforts to strengthen diplomatic, economic and political ties with countries in the region.


Yesterday, experts said President Hassan was walking the talk, since strengthening diplomatic relationships with countries and international organizations was among her promises shortly after assuming office.

The University of Dar es Salaam (Udsm) economics lecturer, Prof Delphin Rwegasira, said at the meetings, President Hassan will meet world bigwigs and can hit two birds with one stone.

“These meetings facilitate the easy meeting with the people from different parts of the world at low costs, the move that will benefit Tanzania if the President’s approach made to the East African Community shortly after assuming office will be extended at the Unga summit,” he said.

His UDSM counterpart, Dr Richard Mbunda said her visit will strengthen her development plans.

“Sideline talks during the meetings are appropriate platforms for strengthening relationships between one country and another; attract aid, loans and development projects,” said Dr Mbunda.

But, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Mr Emmanuel Tutuba said meetings during the summit carry budgetary, planning, economic, investment, peace and security, health and many other agenda.

“The UN forum provides that Heads of State are decision makers before leaving issues to experts to develop execution planning. As the world is still fighting Covid-19, leaders will probably get new directives on the disease,” he said.

University of Iringa (UoI) economics lecturer, Prof Enock Wiketye said although presidential trips are expensive, they provide opportunities for world nations.

Prof. Watengere Kitojo of the Centre for Diplomacy said President Hassan was closing the gap left by the fifth phase administration, emphasizing that travelling was one issue, but the agenda taken aboard was the most important.

“My priority would be attracting agro-business value addition investment as the country’s agenda in order to reduce export of raw agricultural produce,” he said.