Kenya, Tanzania Move to Restore Economic Ties
Tanzania President John Magufuli is making his first state visit to Kenya since he took office last October, as the two countries aim to rebuild their economic ties.
The political and economic relationship between Kenya and Tanzania has been tense following a recent pipeline deal with Uganda. Kenya looked set to snap up the lucrative deal until investors poured cold water on the agreement and Tanzania ultimately signed on the dotted line.
Kenya, Tanzania building bilateral relations
After a difficult year for bilateral relations between the two countries, their leaders are looking to build a stronger future.
Kenya remains to be Tanzania’s largest African trading partner, prompting President Magufuli to admit Kenya is “quite important to Tanzania” upon his arrival in Nairobi on Monday.
However, there’s no denying relations between the two countries have suffered of late. Both presidents insist they are working to put this right. Uhuru Kenyatta says the countries will revive the Kenya Tanzania Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) before the end of this year.
Meanwhile, Tanzania announced its support of Kenya’s bid to become the chair of the African Union.
Uganda’s choice to favour Tanzania over long-time ally Kenya was significant. Investors raised security concerns over running a pipe through Kenya, where the presence of Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab is a constant concern.
However, the decision was as much about pure economics as speculation: Tanzania came in with a price tag believed to be $1 billion dollars cheaper than Kenya – while also being seen as the safer investment.
Uganda’s U-turn wasn’t without its costs, though. Kenya’s position as East Africa’s economic powerhouse is more under threat than ever and bilateral ties between Uganda and Kenya suffered. Then you have the case of Tanzania – a rising economic presence that’s not only threatening Kenya’s economic position in the region but already beating it to lucrative deals with its closest allies.
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