Tanzania: Swedish Minister in Dar for Fresh Cooperation Talks

Dar es Salaam — Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation Peter Eriksson was expected in the country yesterday for a three-day working visit.

According to the Swedish embassy in Dar es Salaam, Mr Erisksson was expected last evening and would be in Tanzania until tomorrow. "The current development cooperation strategy, which has been guiding Swedish collaboration with Tanzania since 2013 is coming to an end in December. The purpose of Minister Eriksson's visit is to engage in dialogue regarding the next steps in the bilateral relations," said the embassy in a statement released yesterday. The embassy said Mr Eriksson has instructed the Swedish Cooperation Agency (SIDA) to begin preparation for a new strategy with Tanzania and report back in December.

"A renewed Swedish engagement brings an opportunity to realign the cooperation in accordance with changes that have occurred both in Tanzania and in Sweden over the past seven years," the statement said. Contacted, deputy minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Damas Ndumbaro, told The Citizen that there are no talks yet with Stockholm over the new cooperation framework.

Asked if Mr Eriksson's instructions to SIDA was part of the European Union agreement for member countries to re-engage Tanzania following last year's diplomatic raw, Mr Ndumbaro said there had not been a single EU member in discussions pertaining to the issue of bilateral relations. Mr Nsumbaro spoke to our reporter in Dodoma.

"We need to ensure that Swedish development cooperation contributes effectively to improved opportunities for better living conditions for people living in poverty in Tanzania."

"Environment and climate related issues are possible new areas of cooperation with particular focus on biodiversity and access to renewable energy. A guiding principle is continued focus on reducing poverty and leaving no one behind while being firmly anchored in universal values of equality, democracy and human rights," said Mr Eriksson in his post-visit statement.

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The embassy said Mr Eriksson will engage in talks with representatives of the Government, civil society and beneficiaries of the programs Sweden supports in Tanzania.

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