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Samia, Evariste rekindle Tanzania-Burundi ties –

Samia, Evariste rekindle Tanzania-Burundi ties

Read Time:6 Minute, 12 Second

By The Citizen

The president of Tanzania arrived in Burundi on Friday for a two-day official visit to rekindle bilateral ties with its northwestern neighbor.

“I have come to Burundi to sustain a long-standing relations between our countries,” said Samia Suluhu Hassan after holding private talks with her Burundian counterpart Evariste Ndayishimiye in the city of Bujumbura.

Hassan noted that she had come to Burundi for four reasons, and particularly to scale up bilateral cooperation, assuring her Burundian counterpart of her country’s commitment to promoting and strengthening the existing bilateral cooperation.

This was Hassan’s first visit to Burundi since she came to office after the death of her predecessor John Magufuli.

Arriving at the statehouse in the city of Gitega, Hassan received a 21-gun salute as a military band played the countries’ national anthems before heading inside for private talks with Ndayishimiye behind closed doors.

Arriving at the statehouse in the city of Gitega, Hassan received a 21-gun salute as a military band played the countries’ national anthems before heading inside for private talks with Ndayishimiye behind closed doors.

Trade opportunities

President Samia Suluhu Hassan Saturday said trade between Tanzania and Burundi was too low compared to the available opportunities.

Official data have it that the value of trade between the two countries rose from Sh83.9 billion in 2015 to Sh200.1 billion in 2019.

As it is, the Union Head of State and her Burundi counterpart, Évariste Ndayishimiye, yesterday agreed to continue cooperating in improving their business and investment environments to attract more investments into their countries.

President Hassan, who flew to Bujumbura yesterday for a two-day State visit, is accompanied by 70 members of the private sector, who left Dar es Salaam for Bunjumbura on Thursday evening ready to take part in the business forum slated for today.

“We have agreed to remove tax and non-tax trade barriers with a view to bolstering trade volumes between the two countries,” President Hassan said during a media briefing in Bujumbura.

To shape trade volume, they had agreed to speed up the construction of a one stop border post between Tanzania and Burundi at Manyovu/ Mugina border.

Further, they also agreed to continue encouraging traders and investors from the two countries to be quick enough when it comes to tapping opportunities.

President Hassan welcomed investors from Burundi to come to Tanzania and invest in the manufacturing, agriculture, mining and tourism sectors, among others.

She revealed that the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) has so far recorded 18 projects from Burundi worth $209.4 million (about Sh481.6 billion), creating 3,544 jobs for Tanzanians.

She revealed that Itracom Fertilizer Limited from Burundi was constructing a fertilizer factory worth $180 million (about Sh414 billion) in Tanzania.

But, Tanzanians have invested in Burundi, too. Among the companies that injected their money into Burundi are Azam Ltd, Azania Group, Interpetrol Ltd, Ndaki Contractors Company and CRDB. Bank.

Tanzania President Samia Suluhu

To boost trade and investment between the two countries, the two Presidents also charted ways on how to improve infrastructure.

“Our discussions boiled down to improving economic relations especially on how to bolster trade and investment between the two countries,” said President Hassan.

Ndayishimiye invites citizens to trade

Speaking earlier, President Ndayishimiye said the focus of their talks was on bilateral and regional issues of mutual interests.

“We are committed to continue working together towards a prosperous future for our countries by strengthening bilateral trade,” he said during a media briefing.

He invited the citizens of the two countries to continue doing trade across the border especially by investing in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Banking, food processing and Transport sectors.

He said they had also agreed to continue exchanging experience in the field of agriculture and livestock.

“And in practical terms we need for our Burundi and Tanzanian cooperatives to work hand in hand during all steps of production as well as granting Burundian farming companies access to Tanzania land in order to increase output,” said President Ndayishimiye.

They agreed to work on peace and security on borders….work hand in hand to counter all forms of trans-border crimes including terrorism and human traffics.

Burundi President Ndayishimiye

Furthermore, they had agreed to increase cooperation and exchange of experience concerning climate change and disaster management.

Finally we agreed to continue combining efforts in the fight against Covid-19 as well as other cross border diseases.

Tanzania Business Community were eyeing to explore business opportunities in Burundi as President Hassan started her two-day official visit to Burundi yesterday.

Briefing journalists shortly before their departure for Bujumbura on Thursday evening using Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL), Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) chairperson Angelina Ngalula said the business forum will discuss a number of factors that can help to increase trade between the two countries.

 She said there was a chance for the two countries to enjoy a two-way business and investment relationship.

Noting that already Burundi was benefiting from the increased relationship with Tanzania, she said about 95 percent of Burundian trade effectively transits through the port of Dar es Salaam.

This, she expounded, is not only due to the geographical location of Burundi, a landlocked country. But, it also reflects the close relations and cooperation between the duo.

On the other hand, she said, the business forum was a positive and encouraging move towards expanding the market of Tanzania’s goods beyond the borders.

“We are standing a chance to enjoy a win-win situation from the improvement of the relationship between the two countries,” noted Ms Ngalula.

CRDB Bank Board chairman Ally Laay said Burundi is endowed with numerous business opportunities which Tanzania can capitalise on.

It is on this ground that the CRDB Bank decided to open its branch in Burundi a few years ago.

“It took us (CRDB) only two years to start recording profit in Burundi. This is contrary to Tanzania where it takes up to five years for a new branch to start registering a profit,” noted Dr Laay.

He said they used Burundi as a platform for learning how to operate beyond Tanzania’s territories.

“We are about to open another branch in Lubumbashi, in the DR Congo. We have already secured the requisite business permits,” Dr Laay revealed.

He said Tanzania and Burundi understand the importance of their relationships.

Tanzania and Burundi have long-standing historical and cultural ties on which to premise multifaceted trading arrangements.

Burundians and Tanzanians are close neighbors, both geographically and spiritually, and over the years people from both countries have developed a common understanding, as well as sharing the same vision and destiny.

This shared cultural and social knowledge is critical for successful businesses and constantly endeavors to widen and deepen it.

Kobero border is the busiest border for Burundi which many traders use as the central corridor to import or export goods to and from Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam port.

For a longtime entrepreneurs from Burundi have been importing food and other goods from Tanzania.

Tanzania’s business community expressed their commitment towards improving business relations with Burundi, saying they would use the forum to exchange contacts and arrange partnership deals.

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