The visit of Zambian President Edgar Chagwa Lungu to Tanzania, which began yesterday, is a major diplomatic move geared towards building on past achievements and shaping the future for the two neighbouring African countries.
This visit is a natural outcome of the longstanding political mutual trust and thriving practical cooperation between the two nations. It is, too, a highly relevant new measure taken to ride the tide of globalisation and regional cooperation.
Cooperation between Tanzania and Zambia is rooted in time-honoured friendship since the early days of independence in the 1960s. The founding presidents of the two countries - Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Mzee Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia - had a strong belief in common development.
Both Mwalimu Nyerere and his Zambian counterpart rejuvenated the souls of their countries which had been battered by colonialism. Presidents John Magufuli of Tanzania and Lungu of Zambia are now laying the foundations for their nations' emergence as global economic powers.
Decades of efforts through thick and thin have now come to fruition. The cooperation first developed under the framework of the liberation struggle in Southern Africa in the 1960s and 70s in which both countries took an active role to dismantle the policies of separate development and colonial rule in such countries as South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola.
From more than half a century of cooperation, one may sum up the following experience: Zambia and Tanzania have always treated each other with sincerity and trust and stayed the course of strategic cooperation; the two sides have always pursued pragmatic, efficient and mutually beneficial cooperation and sought common development by sharing opportunities; the two sides have always promoted the approach of openness, inclusiveness and seeking common ground while shelving differences and brought the people of the two sides closer through mutual learning and the two sides have always moved with the trend of the times with great enterprise and ensured mutual enhancement and coordinated expansion of bilateral and collective cooperation.
Today the trend towards economic globalisation is gathering momentum. Cultural diversity and informationisation are advancing steadily. New scientific and technological breakthroughs are on the horizon in many different areas.
As important members of the developing world, Zambia and Tanzania are at a critical juncture of transformation and development as they have made strategic decisions to deepen reform in a comprehensive way.
Tanzanians and Zambians are now marching towards the two key goals to complete the building of moderately prosperous societies in all respects and to translate into reality their dreams of economic advancement.
The deepening of Tanzania- Zambia strategic cooperation needs a solid foundation. The two sides need to maintain the momentum of high-level exchanges, ensure the success of the ministerial conference, the senior officials' meeting and other meeting mechanisms at various levels within the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)'s framework, conduct dialogue and consultation on global issues in political, economic and security fields and demonstrate the strategic importance of their relations.
The two sides need to give mutual support with regard to issues concerning each other's core and major interests, step up coordination and collaboration in regional and international affairs, turn the balance of power in favour of developing countries and advance shared interests.
The Tanzania-Zambia strategic cooperation needs inexhaustible impetus by reinforcing it in both traditional sectors such as energy, trade and infrastructure and emerging sectors such as nuclear energy, oil and gas, space technology and new energy with a view to sharing development benefits and promoting common prosperity.
The two countries should give play to their comparative strengths and win themselves more opportunities and space for development.
They need to plan for the growth of their relations in the next 50 years around the priority of building a stronger economic base. As long as we have these sources of impetus, the mutually beneficial cooperation between Tanzania and Zambia will last long and achieve big. The deepening of the Tanzania-Zambia cooperation needs the rich nourishment from people-to-people exchanges.
The two sides need to continue their good work on institutionalised events such as the seminar on dialogue, the forum on media cooperation, the friendship conference and the arts festival, expand cooperation on education, health, science and technology, tourism and human resources training and make good use of the mechanism involving youth, academic and elite delegations in a bid to further cement popular support the friendship.
Both Tanzanian and Zambian cultural traditions have profound depths and unique features and both hold intellectual power in high regard. This is of special and positive value to the progress of human civilisation and will remain so in the future.
Closer people-to-people interactions between Tanzania and Zambia will contribute more oriental wisdom to the harmonious coexistence of different cultures and more ideas to the shaping of values in the global governance system. Before colonialism, Tanzanians and Zambians overcame ethnic, cultural and geographic limits to paint a picture of harmony and friendly exchanges.
Today, Tanzania and Zambia are working together to build a stronger economic belt to open the door to new opportunities for relations.
It is, indeed, important for the two countries to seize the historical opportunity, follow the win-win principle and act with creativity to achieve their great dreams of national revival in the course of deepening cooperation.
Let President Lungu's visit inspire Tanzanians and Zambians to join hands and usher in a brighter future for the existing friendly relations