East Africa: Presidents Kagame, Magufuli Commit to Strengthen Ties

President Paul Kagame and his Tanzanian counterpart, President John Pombe Magufuli have pledged to strengthen ties between Rwanda and Tanzania.

The two Heads of State made the commitment during a bilateral meeting, yesterday, in Tanzania's business capital Dar es Salaam, where President Kagame had been invited on a state visit.

Accompanied by the First Lady Jeannette Kagame, the President was received by his Tanzanian counterpart, Magufuli, and the First Lady Janeth Magufuli.

The reciprocal visit started with both Presidents having a bilateral meeting, where they committed to strengthen ties in key sectors like aviation to accelerate development for both nations. This was followed by signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on key areas of cooperation between the two countries.

"Our visit, and the agreements signed represent our desire for continued partnership, and closer collaboration on issues of mutual interest in all sectors. The President and I have had good discussions, building on the spirit of friendship, strong historical ties, and the future aspirations shared by Tanzania and Rwanda. We will continue to strengthen our longstanding bilateral relationship, and work more closely together to create more opportunities, and increased prosperity for our citizens, as well as the greater East African region," President Kagame said during a joint press briefing after the meeting.

On his part, President Magufuli said his government will continue to take measures to facilitate the efficiency of the Dar es Salaam port.

"Our two countries enjoy good relations based on common mutual relations and respect. Rwanda is our best friend. We are committed to ensure the transport infrastructure project is implemented in a timely manner," Magufuli said.

Last month, the two countries agreed to form a joint implementation committee (JIC) to closely monitor important areas agreed during the 14th session of the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) following a directive by President Kagame and Magufuli after the latter's visit to Rwanda in April.

Meanwhile, President Kagame also officiated at the opening of the 40th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF) at the Saba Saba Grounds.

The President was the keynote speaker and congratulated the Tanzania Trade Development Authority for attracting a record number of exhibitors, including more than 15 Rwandan companies.

Kagame noted that this confirms that Tanzanians are eager to do business and are working hard to develop their country and the region.

"Rwandans share this commitment. Our visit here is an occasion to learn how we can do more business together and take our countries forward. Tanzania and Rwanda are bound by more than history and the border we share. We also have a common purpose and future as members of the East African Community and the Central Corridor. The people of our region have the drive and dynamism, and they can only benefit from the vast opportunities, that come with faster and deeper integration," President Kagame said.

The President and the First Lady were also hosted to a State Banquet where President Kagame hailed the spirit of goodwill that defines the relationship between Rwanda and Tanzania, noting that beyond geographical proximity, the two countries share a common history, and the values of hard work, respect, and cooperation.

"We both seek stability, prosperity, and dignity for our nations and our continent. May the friendship between Rwanda and Tanzania continue to flourish, in the years to come," Kagame added.

President Kagame is the second Head of State to visit Tanzania since President Magufuli was sworn in last November. The first was Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang.

Source: The New Times