Dar es Salaam — President Mwai Kibaki has said progressive integration between Kenya and Tanzania holds the key to the common prosperity of the citizens of the two countries.
Speaking during a State banquet hosted in his honour by his host President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete at Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, President Kibaki noted that it is due to the importance of integration that much emphasis has been put on collaboration between the two nations as well as other countries of the East African Community.
President Kibaki further said joint efforts of the East African Community leaders have successfully put in place various instruments such as Customs Union Protocol and Common Market Protocol with the objective of eliminating trade barriers, increasing economic prosperity and contributing to closer union among the member states.
Noting that Kenya and Tanzania are bound not only by a long history of common heritage and culture but also a shared sense of destiny and prosperity, President Kibaki said the two nations stand together on a platform of solid partnership based on shared interests, ideals, objectives and friendship as their citizens continue to engage one another in various fields of endeavour.
Said the President: "Our collective efforts have contributed to further consolidation of our friendly relations and growth in trade and commercial interaction. We have witnessed increased contacts and exchanges between our people, as well as the enhancement of free movement across our borders."
The Head of State expressed his gratitude that during his tenure, Kenya and Tanzania have worked closely towards the development of numerous natural and human resources with the aim of achieving common economic, social and political goals.
Said the President, "I wish to express my sincere gratitude for the cooperation and support the people and Government of the United Republic of Tanzania have accorded me during my term as President of the Republic of Kenya and during the fifty years I have been in public service."
President Kibaki further noted that due to the collective efforts of the leaders, there has been greater expansion of the economies, improved security and overall better quality life for the citizens of the two nations.
President Kibaki singled out trade and investment sectors as areas which have witnessed utmost growth, adding that so far Kenyan businesses have invested over Sh100 billion in various sectors of the Tanzanian economy.
"Bilateral trade has also grown extensively over the years. Currently, Kenya exports goods worth approximately Sh40 billion to Tanzania while its imports from Tanzania are valued at approximately Sh15 billion," the President noted.
The Head of State also singled out significant progress made towards advancing shared interests through the Joint Commission for Cooperation framework.
Noting that the Commission provides elaborate and systematic framework for direct engagement between experts of the two governments, President Kibaki reiterated his Government's commitment to the full implementation of the agreements and initiatives adopted by the Joint Commission for Cooperation .
Also in attendance were Minister for Foreign Affairs Prof. Sam Ongeri, Minister for Cooperative Development Joseph Nyaga and senior Tanzanian Government officials among others.