South Africa and Tanzania have agreed to ramp up benefits accruing from bilateral relations by expanding areas of mutual cooperation in trade.
“We need to refocus and reprioritise our cooperation for the mutual benefit of our respective countries, leading to the eradication of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
“We have agreed to pay a particular focus on economic cooperation by encouraging private sector investments, infrastructure development, agro-processing, beneficiation and joint venture projects to strengthen trade and investment between the two countries,” said President Zuma on Thursday.
He was speaking to media after official talks at the Inaugural South Africa-Tanzania Bi-National Commission (BNC) with his Tanzanian counterpart, John Magufuli.
President Zuma, accompanied by six Ministers, arrived in the east African country on Wednesday night for a State visit.
The two Presidents have directed Ministers and officials to finalise all outstanding agreements and memoranda of understanding.
“Key in this regard is the need to implement all existing agreements. We are happy with the signing of the two memoranda of understanding that will take place today in transport and the environmental affairs areas,” said President Zuma.
Already the two countries have growing bilateral cooperation in defence and security, science and technology, arts and culture, environmental affairs, trade and investment, transport and energy, to mention but a few.
These are solidified by the historical bonds of friendship and comradeship, which were cemented when South Africa was fighting the apartheid government.
The relations have seen booming trade figures between the two countries. In 2016, South African exports to Tanzania were valued at R6.5 billion, whereas imports from Tanzania amounted to R3.5 billion.
President Zuma, who will later address the Business Forum, urged business-people from both countries to take advantage of the strong historical relations and explore business opportunities.
President Zuma said the inaugural BNC will provide the required impetus to bilateral relations by expanding the areas of cooperation to include the political, economic, security and cultural fields.
The BNC will be supervised on a Head of State and Government level to growth relations.
President Zuma also used his address to pay tribute to Tanzania in the role it played in the liberation struggle.
The bonds of friendship and comradeship were forged when the leadership of Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Joe Matthews met in 1962 in Tanzania to discuss support for the ANC, including the launch of the armed struggle.
“Importantly, Tanzania afforded our movement and leadership the space to develop the watershed change in strategy, a gesture that would ultimately result in the eventual overthrow of one of the most inhumane and oppressive systems ever adopted by a regime.
“Tanzania also heeded our clarion call, when in the aftermath of the 1976 student uprising, our leader Oliver Reginald Tambo approached the Tanzanian government for the allocation of a piece of land to establish a school for South Africans banished from their country,” said President Zuma.
He said South Africa will never forget the role Tanzania played in the attainment of freedom and democracy for South Africa.