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Tanzania to support Kenyan bid for AU chair

Kenyatta (left) and Magufuli
Kenyatta (left) and Magufuli
Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli has commended Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta’s nomination of Ambassador Amina Mohamed  for the position of African Union Commission Chair and assured her of Tanzania’s endorsement.
Amina Mohamed is Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs. She joins the race after the withdrawal of Uganda’s Dr. Wandira Kazibwe.
Magufuli gave the assurance as he started a two-day state visit to Kenya, his first on Monday. The visit focussed mainly on trade, with Kenyatta and Magufuli agreeing to revive meetings under the Joint Cooperation Commission (JCC) to boost trade and development ties between Kenya and Tanzania.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed
They agreed that the first meeting – that will pave the way for close cooperation in areas of mutual benefit to the two countries –be held in Dar-Es-Salam at a date to be set by Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and her Tanzanian counterpart Augustine Mahiga.

Kenyatta and Magufuli addressed the press on Monday, saying the two countries have directed their Foreign Ministers to organise a JCC meeting as soon as possible.

“Our officers should hasten the holding of this important forum.  I am confident that reviving these talks will strengthen our relations,” Kenyatta said.

The last time the two countries met within the framework of the JCC, a framework instituted to prioritize matters of mutual bilateral interests, was in September 2012 in Kenya. 

Kenyatta thanked Magufuli for honouring the invitation, saying the first visit to Kenya by the Tanzanian leader signified the warm and cordial relations that have existed between the two countries since independence.

“One can say without fear or favour that Kenya and Tanzania have shared principles that bind us together,” Kenyatta said.

Magufuli said Tanzania valued Kenya as a neighbour and a partner in many areas, saying his visit is aimed at cementing the mutual beneficial ties that date back to the times of the two countries’ founding fathers.

The Tanzanian leader praised Kenya, terming it “Tanzania’s leading investment partner in Africa”.

Magufuli said 529 Kenyan companies have set base in Tanzania and invested $ 1.7 billion.

“Kenyan companies created more than 56,260 jobs for the people of Tanzania,” President Magufuli said as he encouraged more Kenyan investors to Tanzania.

He also welcomed the revival of the JCC meetings, saying they will serve as a catalyst to the cooperation between the two countries.

At the bilateral talks, the two leaders also agreed that Kenya and Tanzania would cooperate more in the fight against terrorism.

“We have agreed that our security agencies will work closely to fight terrorism and share information and experiences,” Kenyatta said.

He said Kenya and Tanzania have also resolved to work together in infrastructure development for the benefit of the people of the two countries, citing the road from Bagamoyo in Tanzania to Malindi in Kenya and another one through Isebania to Western Tanzania as some of the key projects that are in the pipeline.

“Such projects will ease transportation of people and goods across our borders. This will improve the lives of our people and enhance integration,” President Kenyatta said.

The two leaders and their delegations also discussed regional peace and stability where they agreed to join hands in addressing challenges facing neighbouring countries.

The bilateral talks were attended by Deputy President William Ruto and several Cabinet Secretaries including Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs) Joseph Nkaissery (Interior) Dan Kazungu (Mining), James Macharia (Transport and Infrastructure) and Adan Mohamed (Industrialization) among other senior Government officials.

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