East Africa: Hassan-Kenyatta Meeting - Business, Co-Existence Kingpin in Region Integration

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

AS President Samia Suluhu Hassan jets to Nairobi, Kenya today for a two-day State visit, there is an instant enthusiasm of regional integration further deepening for the benefit of the member states of the East Africa Community (EAC).

With Kenya, out of the countries in the bloc forming the major bulk of investors in Tanzania and the latter being the granary in the region, several business opportunities at the grassroots will spring up from the two leaders' talks, which besides reinforcing the bilateral ties will iron out any imagined and real ideological differences.

Flashing back in her address to Parliament last month, President Samia vowed to improve local policies to attract foreign investors and sustain relations within the EAC and other regional trading blocs.

"If you call it change, then it will be a renewed effort on economic diplomacy," she said, referring to better ties with the East African Community, Southern Africa Development Community and the recent Africa Continental Free Trade Area.

"We pray that part of the changes will be to reduce real and imagined red tape, harmonise taxation and levies as well as ease entry of investors by engaging in lots of diplomacy. "Our diplomatic staff have to be competent in striking deals in investment and trade promotion as well as seek strategic partners in tourism," she said.

This comes also at the backdrop of Kenya sending Sports CS Amina Mohamed to Tanzania for talks on strengthening the relationship, besides carrying President Uhuru Kenyatta's message that Kenya is ready for bilateral talks.

It should be noted that these two countries share brotherly borders, cultures and people, who were once historically living together only to be divided by the colonialists.

With this background, just over 40 days in office, observers say President Samia's early indications point towards Tanzania having a more open outlook in terms of regional relations and partnerships with her neighbours and this goes without say that Tanzania can not exist in isolation likewise its individual neighbours.

"President Samia will attend and address a forum of Kenyan and Tanzanian businesspeople in Nairobi for the purpose of addressing various issues of trade and investment between Kenya and Tanzania," further said Tanzania's Spokesman Gerson Msigwa.

Her trip is significantly important and can be crowned by a political risk analyst for businesses involved in cross-border trade, Dismas Mokua, arguing: "In my view, top on her priority list should be to remove the non-tariff barriers to trade between Kenya and Tanzania. The Kenya-Tanzania bilateral trade is largely latent and needs Suluhu to make it kinetic."

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