13 November 2018

East Africa: Poland Courts East Africa As Strategic Partner

As Poland celebrates 100 years of Independence this year, the country is revamping its relations with the region and has already advanced a $110 million credit to Tanzania to improve its agriculture and food security sectors.

Speaking to The EastAfrican in Warsaw, deputy director of the Department of Economic Co-operation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Konrad Pawlik said that, given its agriculture potential and growing consumer market, Tanzania fits in with Poland's focus on economic and development co-operation.

In 2008, Poland closed its embassy in Dar es Salaam due to budgetary constraints, but it was reopened last year.

The deputy director of the Department of Africa and the Middle East, Michal Cygan, said that since 2016, Tanzania has been a priority for scholarships including the Ignacy Lukasiewicz programme.

While celebrating the centenary of Poland's Independence, Polish ambassador to Tanzania Krzysztof Buzalski said his country sees the region as a promising economic partner in agriculture modernisation, efficient water usage and education.

"We are ready to share with you some of our experiences that could be helpful in areas such as economic transformation and efficiency in agriculture and industry," he said.

Two Polish firms, Feerum SA and Araj, have already been contracted by Tanzania's National Food Reserve Agency to construct silos for grain storage with a capacity of 250,000 tonnes of maize.

On November 11, Poland completed a year-long celebration of its centenary of Independence, which was gained in 1918 after 123 years of serfdom and domination by Russia, Prussia and Austro-Hungary.

This year, Poles are also celebrating the anniversary of the Bar Confederation - an armed coalition of Polish nobles established on February 29, 1768 in Bar, Podolia.

This year has also been announced as the Year of Women's Rights as 100 years ago Polish women were granted voting rights. On November 28, 1918, Józef Piłsudski, the architect of Polish Independence, signed a decree stipulating that every Polish citizen, regardless of gender, was a voter.

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