I was delighted to return to warm and beautiful Tanzania, a close ally of the United Kingdom, on March 7-8.
The UK-Tanzania partnership is strong. The UK is the largest foreign investor in Tanzania, and the second largest donor.
During my visit I saw first-hand how that partnership is making tangible changes to Tanzania’s economy, and to people’s lives. For example, funds provided by UK Export Finance are helping construct the new terminal at Julius Nyerere International Airport; UKAid is helping expand the capacity of Dar es Salaam port; and UK experts are supporting Tanzanian police in tackling the illegal trade in drugs, organised crime and corruption.
I also saw how weak infrastructure holds back cities. At one point during my visit, there were torrential rains that resulted in a power blackout and a gridlocked city, delaying essential meetings and the sense of routine business.
The infrastructure deficit was visible. I am, therefore, pleased that the Department for International Development (DfID) is supporting a government programme with the World Bank to help make Dar es Salaam more resilient to these extreme weather events.
With regard to opening the Dar es Salaam Port, DfID is supporting Trademark East Africa to create more space and make roads more accessible. We are also supporting critical feasibility studies necessary for the government to secure finance through the World Bank to improve the port infrastructure to help the country realise the trade benefits of improved transport corridors and reduced transit time for freight. We want to do much more.
During my stay, I also discussed the importance of a better business environment and the rule of law to attract companies that can provide jobs and good wages.
I talked with ministers and company bosses about the urgent work that must take place to tackle corruption in all its forms. I pay tribute to President John Magufuli and his ministers for making this a top priority.
I also listened to different people’s perspectives on Zanzibar, and raised our concerns with the ministers I met. I stressed that the only way to ensure that peace and stability prevail is to respect the will of the Zanzibari people and the democratic process. I hope that even at this late stage all parties can engage in a meaningful dialogue to agree to a solution.
It is my strong belief that with so many connections, friendships and common priorities, Tanzania and the UK can build a partnership that will deliver prosperity for both our countries.
James Duddridge, UK Africa Minister,