The decision by the government of Denmark to close its mission in Tanzania is undoubtedly a blow to the close bilateral ties that were established between the two countries over six decades ago.
But, even as the diplomatic ties seem to be going through a new phase of transition, both sides have exhibited a commitment to retaining the long standing cordial relations that have for years defined the existing cooperation between the Danish government and that of Tanzania.
Furthermore, the statement issued to the media by Denmark’s minister for foreign affairs, Mr Jeppe Kofod, stressing that the decision to close its Tanzanian embassy is the consequence of an adjustment of the Danish government’s priorities for development cooperation as laid out in its global strategy shows that there is no other underlying reason that should cause any major concern.
Echoing her government’s statement, the Danish ambassador to Tanzania Mette Norgaard Dissing-Spandet said this is not the end of the Tanzania-Denmark affair as the two countries look for new ways to cement a new accord.
Going by what the ambassador said in what was clearly an emotional remark, Denmark is still committed to fulfilling its development agenda in the country and has offered its consulates in Arusha and Zanzibar as addresses where some of the mission’s strategy will be carried out in the country.
The rejoinder to the shared optimism on the way forward conveyed by Tanzania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation through a statement made public is another testament to the bright future that looms amid an alteration of operations.
As such, Tanzania should not despair in this decision by Denmark because not all changes are negative, it is how the government will adapt to the new norm that will define how the two partners navigate unchartered territory.
There is a lot to celebrate as we reflect on the support that Denmark has provided to Tanzania. The many development projects that were made possible through foreign aid helped Tanzania make a leap by addressing some of the challenges that were widespread in different sectors.
Today we are where we are in some of the crucial sectors because of the Danish support. But as it has been reiterated by the Danish government, the support will not altogether cease, there will just be a new way of doing things.
Hope for the future
The Tanzanian government has shown a willingness to embrace the new way of operation that will set in in 2024. Despite being saddened by the decision by the Danish government, Foreign Affairs minister Liberata Mulamula has stressed the government’s continued efforts to rebuild and strengthen diplomatic ties with our allies. As such, this new development by the Danish government should not dampen the deliberate efforts that were lined up by Samia Suluhu Hassan’s government to bridge any divided that had existed between Tanzania and other countries.
Perhaps a learning curve in this development is that every foreign mission in Tanzania plays its own significant role in helping Tanzania achieve its objectives. So, whether media herald the efforts undertaken or not, the impact is felt by the community who are the direct beneficiaries.