TRADE ties between Tanzania and Burundi are set to flourish with technical teams from the two neighbouring countries currently meeting in Dar es Salaam, laying a groundwork for enhancing business flow.
The meeting is the part of the implementation of recent directives by President Samia Suluhu Hassan and her Burundian counterpart Evariste Ndayishimiye to strengthen trade relations between the East African neighbours.
The technocrats from Works and Transport Ministries from both countries began their strategic meeting yesterday, with focus on transport infrastructures, mainly to set up partnership in the use of Dar es Salaam Port and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
The meeting will also draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for partnership in handling Burundi-bound cargoes in Tanzania's dry ports.
While in Burundi last July, President Samia instructed the Ministry of Works and Transport to allocate space within the dry ports that would specifically handle cargoes destined for Burundi, to facilitate their movement.
President Samia also directed the Minister for Works and Transport, Dr Leonard Chamuriho and the Managing Director for Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC), Masanja Kadogosa, to improve railway transportation linking the two countries in a bid to smoothen movement of people, goods and services.
She was of the view that an improved railway line connecting the two countries would play a crucial role in increasing the volume of Burundi's cargoes imported through Dar es Salaam Port.
The Head of State issued the directives when addressing a Business Forum between Tanzania and Burundi traders in Bujumbura, during her two-day state visit in Burundi.
She used the same platform to inform the business community that the government of Tanzania has continued to upgrade the ports of Dar es Salaam, Kigoma, Kalema, Kasanga and Kabwe to ease the movement of people and goods, asking Burundian traders to continue using Tanzanian ports to conduct their business.
And as a development to the bilateral talks, a delegation of Burundian technical officials led by Permanent Secretary for Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism Ministry, Amb Jérémie Banigwaninzigo, met with their Tanzanian delegation also led by Permanent Secretary in the Works and Transport, Gabriel Migire, to act on the matter.
Speaking, Mr Migire said their meeting will dwell into important issues to enhance business relations between the countries, noting that Burundi is among major users of the Dar es Salaam Port, with 476,809 tonnes of Burundian cargoes passing through the port.
"I believe that with strengthened relationships more Burundian cargoes will pass through Dar es Salaam Port. We are targeting 100 per cent of Burundi's cargoes to pass through the port," the Permanent Secretary stated.
He assured that the government was also gearing up to improve the infrastructure of the dry ports, including Kwala and Katosho dry ports, to facilitate speedy handling of cargoes destined to Bujumbura.
"I assure you that Tanzania will continue improving port services," he told the Burundian delegation which will spend seven days in the country.
While in the country, the Burundian delegation will have the opportunity to tour the Dar es Salaam Port and observe how the port handles cargo and will also visit the SGR project construction from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma.
"Our tour is the outcome of the state visit by President Samia in our country last month, this is a technical visit meant to learn and exchange experiences," commented Amb Banigwaninzigo, noting that Tanzania and Burundi boast a brotherhood relationship.