A UNIQUE CONNECTION

Oman 2014 | DIPLOMACY | GUEST SPEAKER

TBY talks to Jakaya Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, on the depth of relations between Tanzania and Oman.

HE Jakaya Kikwete
BIOGRAPHY
Jakaya Kikwete is the fourth president of Tanzania, having been elected in 2005. Prior to this, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1995 to 2005. He also served as the Chairperson of the African Union between 2008 and 2009. He graduated from the University of Dar es Salaam in 1975 with a degree in Economics.

How have diplomatic efforts advanced relations between Oman and Tanzania?

The relationship Tanzania enjoys with Oman is unique. The strength and depth of this bond are borne out in the constant links connecting huge swathes of the populations of both nations. Many people in Oman speak Swahili, for example. We visited a museum in Oman recently, and we met someone from Tanzania who had migrated years ago; today, he is one of the top marine biologists in Oman. There are so many people who you can meet in the streets that are receptive and welcoming to Tanzanians. Endowed with this unique cultural anchor, we are working to build upon political and economic relationships. A number of investors have been making contributions to the Tanzanian economy. We also sell cattle and beef to Oman, and we hope to see this kind of trade grow.

How will the establishment of the Omani-Tanzanian Joint Economic Committee support that relationship?

We meet regularly with Oman to discuss areas of cooperation and exchange. It is a country with which we want to develop very close relations, and I feel the obligation to do so given the diaspora of Tanzanians and Tanzanian culture in Oman. It is a truly unique connection.

In which sectors do you see the most opportunity?

I see huge potential in oil and gas particularly, but Oman has many strengths. The country also has surplus capital and is constantly seeking lucrative investment areas. Tanzania has such opportunities in abundance and we are seeking to enhance economic cooperation. We are also evaluating trade relations; Oman has a huge consumer market that we believe Tanzania can take advantage of. We can create manufacturing capacity here and offer agriculture and livestock supplies that can be integrated into the market in Oman.

“ We meet regularly with Oman to discuss areas of cooperation and exchange. "