, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 26 – Kenya and Tanzania have re-affirmed their commitment to strengthening bilateral co-operation at all levels in order to reap maximum benefits for the people of the two countries.
Speaking at a dinner hosted in honour of the visiting Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein at hotel Intercontinental, Kenya’s Vice President hailed the existing bilateral ties between Kenya and Tanzania which he described as historical dating back to pre-independence time.
The two leaders called for faster implementation of issues agreed upon under the Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) held last year in Arusha.
They noted that under JCC the two countries have a framework of working together in areas of governance, security, economic and socials sectors.
Mr Musyoka said that the recent signing of the East Africa Community protocol on Common Market was a crucial millstone in the regional integration, saying it would go a long way to facilitate free flow of goods and services within member states.
The Tanzanian VP noted that the protocol which is expected to be fully operational July this year will offer wider opportunities for people in the region to expand effectively their investments for the benefit of all.
“Our sub-regional integration is moving on at an encouraging pace and I believe it is now at a level which is not matched by any sub-regional body in other parts of Africa”, Dr Shein observed.
Dr Shein noted that Kenya is an important trading partner with Tanzania, saying that Kenya has investments worth close to USD 1 billion in Tanzania, thus becoming the second most large investor in country after Britain.
“Trade and other economic exchanges between Tanzania and Kenya are vibrant, expanding and unstoppable”, Tanzanian VP observed.
Mr Musyoka said that the launch of the Arusha-Namanga-Athi River road construction project by President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya and President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania would further deepen integration process of the East African Region.
He noted that the road project would facilitate easy movement of people and services from Zambia through Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and the Sudan.
“The improved road network will also enhance the flow of tourists between Kenya and Tanzania as it transverse the tourism circuit covering the national parks of Amboseli and Tsavo in Kenya, Manyara, Ngorongoro and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania”, Kenya’s VP added.
Mr Musyoka commended the government of the United Republic of Tanzania and the people of that country for the role they play in promoting regional peace initiative.
He expressed Kenya’s support to Tanzania towards conflict resolution, particularly in the great lakes region, noting that continuous tension may endanger regional stability.
“I assure you of our commitment to the stability of Eastern Africa and that we will continue to make every effort to provide a peaceful domestic environment for prosperity of our people”, Mr Musyoka added.
The Tanzanian VP expressed his country’s gratitude for the government and the people of Kenya for their resolve to pursue the path of national reconciliation and reconstruction particularly after the post election crisis.
Dr Shein at the same time commended the government of Kenya for its involvement in peace efforts in Burundi, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“I urge you to stay on course with the rest of our region in regaining peace, stability and prosperity in future”, said Dr Shein.