10 March 2019

Tanzania: Magufuli Reaches Out to Diplomats

Dar es Salaam — President John Magufuli has urged members of the diplomatic corps to take advantage of the reforms he made recently at the Foreign Affairs ministry in a bid to strengthen diplomatic ties with Tanzania.

Dr Magufuli was addressing ambassadors, high commissioners and diplomatic representatives to Tanzania during a sherry party held on Friday night in the city, and which was broadcast live on State Television.

During his speech, President Magufuli asked the diplomats to always seek information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation.

He said he had made positive changes in terms of leadership at the ministry to ensure that all information needed to cater for the needs of the diplomatic community was delivered timely.

"Don't bother even to tweet," said the President, "Go straight to the ministry and the officials will take care all of the issues," he said as he explained the vibrancy of ministry's new leadership in serving the diplomats. "All we need is for our country to move fast in terms of development," he noted.

During the party, which is held every year by the diplomatic community, to signify the beginning of the new year, the President reiterated the government's goal to continue implementing development projects and development plans, saying the government has so far registered many success stories.

President Magufuli said the government was committed to strengthening relations with the diplomatic community in various sectors of development and social welfare.

He said that in 2018, Tanzania maintained peace and security, keeping the economy stable and attracted investments.

In 2018, he added, huge projects continued to take shape, these included infrastructural development like the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, the commencement of a hydropower project at Stiegler's Gorge in the Rufiji River, rural electrification, an the expansion of ports and airports. He also pointed out a wide-range of achievements in health and education. The President said he was committed to making impressive achievements in this year (2019), going forward in line with the country's Five Year Development Plan (2016/17-2020/21), with the target of driving Tanzania to the middle income status.

The main focus, he noted, would be on agriculture, tourism, air transport and minerals.

The Head of State asked the diplomats to showcase the various business opportunities existing in Tanzania back in their homelands.

However, the President was keen on highlighting the challenges that the country faced last year, beginning with the sinking of MV Nyerere vessel in Lake Victoria that killed hundreds of Tanzanians.

He also spoke of the economic challenges, including the fall of the shilling against the dollar, which he emphasized was attributed to the global economic changes that have been reported.

"Of late, the shilling has gained ground," he assured the diplomats.

"There has also been a rise in global fuel prices which affected business in the country. Prices of some of our agricultural produce also fell in the global market and this necessitated the government's intervention to protect our farmers," he noted.

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