Tanzania urged to leverage EAC integration

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania - Tanzania has been advised to use her geographical potentials to garner more gain from East Africa integration.

The Finnish Prime Minister Mr. Jyrki Katainen made the comment at the roundtable discussion on ‘Bridging Africa’s Transformation Gap: What Europe and Africa need from each other,’ which was held in Dar es Salaam last week.

Mr. Katainen said integration is frequently a challenging process, adding that giving up some political and economic sovereignty is a sensitive and balancing act between different opinions.

He said  the current economic crisis should not prevent countries from seeing the benefits of integration, noting that Africa has already benefitted from integration in the areas of political integration, which has given more credibility to African countries in international forums.

Mr Katainen however said the benefits of integration are unarguable as through the process the countries achieve more than the individual country could.

He added that political integration brings stability and peace, while economic integration and liberation of trade inside Africa, boost economic growth and raise nations from poverty.

“The challenge is how do we make economic growth inclusive and create employment for all the people. We must make sure that people belonging to the most vulnerable groups have fair and equitable access to the benefits of growth,” he explained.

Mr Katainen said there is ample evidence that openness in trade is beneficial for economic growth in the long-run, adding that the best results of poverty reduction have been achieved by those countries that have embraced external trade and integrated into the global and regional economy.

The renowned East Africa as one of the fastest growing economic region in the world, with member countries that have a strong annual growth rates, averaging above 5% over the past decade.

For his part, the Prime Minister of Tanzania Mizengo Pinda said in a statement presented on his behalf by Minister without portfolio in the President’s Office Prof. Mark Mwandosya, that African leaders are committed to a prosperous and united continent that is effectively integrated into global economic system where living conditions of the people are characterised by sustained improvement.

He added, there is no doubt that Africa is on the brink of a major transformation, “The process is achievable. Africa is increasingly looking to integrate her economies and trade internally, shifting production to the continent and slowly growing its industrial sector.”

The Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Lu Youging, urged the international community to invest more in Africa and open international markets for products from the continent to create more job opportunities and revenue from taxes, which would in turn boost the continent’s economy

Right after the round table discussion, the Finnish Premier witnessed the signing of two Memorandums of Understanding in Forestry and Mineral sectors between these two governments.

Finnish Premier and Minister for International Development Pekka Haa visited to Tanzania on 29–30 January 2014. 

The purpose of the visit was to strengthen bilateral relations and trade and development links, as well as promoting trade and business partnerships between Finnish and Tanzanian companies.

The Ministers was accompanied by a business delegation with representatives from 27 Finnish companies. 

The companies involved operate internationally in the fields of energy, infrastructure construction, logistics, the information society, extractive industry, education, health, and agriculture and forestry.