10 April 2006
Trade and political relations between South African and Tanzania are set to be strengthened following a meeting between President Thabo Mbeki and newly elected Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.
After a closed meeting that lasted nearly two hours, Mbeki said that he and Kikwete had enjoyed a successful discussion that included “widening bilateral relations with Tanzania.”
Mbeki explained that the two countries intended to strengthen existing agreements in order to fast-track political and economic development.
He said the next meeting of the bilateral Presidential Economic Commission, established in 2005 to encourage regular talks on political, economic and development issues, would take place in Tanzania in June.
Kikwete, who is on a working visit to the country, arrived from Botswana, where he held discussions with President Festus Mogae.
As a major role player in the African Union, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and East Africa’s development and peacekeeping activities, Tanzania’s relations with South Africa are seen as vital.
“Tanzania is also very active in the Great Lakes region, and the South African government will fully support its initiatives to get the Paliphutu-FNL to join the process,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad.
Trade and investment
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, South Africa and Tanzania enjoy “healthy” trade relations.
South Africa’s exports to Tanzania were projected to be worth over R2.4-billion in 2004, while the value of imports were forecast at R206.8-million in the same year.
SA’s exports to Tanzania are predominantly in manufacturing: machinery, mechanical appliances, paper, rubber products, vehicles, iron, steel, services, and technology.
South Africa, which ranks fourth on the list of foreign investors in Tanzania, also contributes about 10 percent of total investment in that country.
About 150 South African companies are actively operating in Tanzania, according to the Department of Trade and Industry.