Johannesburg - South Africa and Tanzania have committed to deepen and strengthen economic ties through expanded trade and investment with a goal of achieving decent livelihoods in both countries.
President Ramaphosa's spokesperson Khusile Diko told journalists that the agreement was reached last week by President Cyril Ramaphosa and his counterpart, President John Pombe Magufuli, when the former undertook his first state visit to Tanzania since being elected President in May 2019.
President Ramaphosa was also in Tanzania to attend the 39th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government.
During their bilateral discussions, Ramaphosa and Magufuli exchanged views on bilateral, continental and global issues, reaffirming their commitment to cooperate more closely on multilateral issues.
“I firmly believe that much can still be achieved to further expand our cooperation, particularly in sectors such as energy, mining development, mineral beneficiation, economic infrastructure, tourism, agro-processing, education and healthcare,” said President Ramaphosa.
He also encouraged the enhancement of cultural exchanges in order to promote people-to-people relations.
The two heads of state also agreed that the second session of the South Africa-Tanzania Binational Commission would be hosted in South Africa this year, on a date to be agreed.
They also noted with satisfaction the coming into effect of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), an ambitious initiative to accelerate intracontinental trade and advance economic integration.
Ramaphosa and Magufuli also addressed the South Africa-Tanzania Business Forum and urged their respective business communities to work together to achieve inclusive growth and development.
It was also agreed that in order to promote rapid industrialisation and development, there was a need to enhance the ease of doing business in the two countries.
“South Africa is ready and prepared to craft a new partnership model with Tanzania, where government and business work together to clear the way for more investment to flow between our two countries,” added Ramaphosa.
During his state visit, President Ramaphosa also undertook a visit to Morogoro where he toured the Soikone University of Agriculture’s Solomon Mahlangu Campus (formerly known as the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College - SOMAFCO).
The college, situated in Mazimbu, was established by the exiled ANC cadres in 1978 and provided educational and vocational skills to young South Africans who had fled South Africa after the 1976 Soweto uprising.
Ramaphosa's visit to Morogoro was the first by a sitting SA President and coincided with the 50th Anniversary of the African National Congress’ Morogoro Consultative Conference convened under the stewardship of President Oliver Tambo. It was this Consultative Conference that adopted the Strategy and Tactics document which determined the direction of the ANC's struggle against the apartheid regime for several decades.
“We return here because we desire, like the people of this area and all the people of Tanzania, to see this as a place of development, of commerce, of learning and of prosperity. We want this place to have a future that is as glorious as its past. That is why we are greatly encouraged by initiatives like the SOMAFCO Future Africa Precinct, which aims to remember and celebrate our past while investing in infrastructure and economic opportunities that make a tangible difference in the lives of the people of this area,” Ramaphosa said.
During this engagement in Morogoro, President Ramaphosa also expressed his heartfelt condolences to the families and the people of Tanzania following the 10 August 2019 fuel tanker explosion in the area that led to the deaths of more than 70 people.
“We wish the families of those who have lost their loved ones strength as they go through this valley of darkness, as they come to terms with their loss but we also wish those who are still in the hospital a good recovery.”
President Ramaphosa led the South African delegation to the 39th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government held under the theme “A Conducive Business Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development”.
The theme was in line with previous SADC Summit decisions that endorsed industrialisation as the overarching priority for the region based on the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063).
The summit also provided an opportunity for Heads of State and Government to be apprised on the overall implementation of the SADC work programme, including the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (2015-2020) and the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap.
The summit was also updated on the status of the region's economy, health, and food security and provided policy direction about future strategic work of SADC and the SADC post 2020 Agenda.
President Ramaphosa highlighted the importance of regional economic integration and further emphasised the need to work towards the advancement of economic integration as envisaged by the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and for the promotion and advancement of the public-private sector partnerships.
During the SADC Troika Summit of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Ramaphosa, in his capacity as the SADC facilitator to Lesotho, presented a final report on the facilitation process to the SADC Heads of State.
He noted progress made towards the implementation of the reforms required for transformation in the mountain kingdom.
He commended the passing of enabling legislation for the establishment of the National Reforms Authority which is entrusted with implementing the decisions of the National Dialogue and the reform processes.
Ramaphosa further expressed gratitude to international partners, notably, the European Union Delegation Office to Lesotho, the United Nations Development Programme in Maseru and Tanzania retired judge, Justice Frederick Werema, Chairperson of the SADC Oversight Committee on Lesotho, for their support and assistance provided to him.
President Ramaphosa also congratulated President Magufuli on assuming the Chairmanship of SADC.
“Our regional organisation, our region will continue to prosper under his esteemed and capable leadership”.
He also congratulated President Magafuli on Kiswahili being adopted as the 4th official language of communication by SADC, in addition to English, French and Portuguese.
The next SADC Summit will take place in Maputo, Mozambique, in August 2020.