Kenya and Tanzania celebrate their independence this month.In light of the celebrations the newly appointed Ambassador of Kenya to Tanzania, H.E Dan Kazungu urged for a stronger cooperation between the two countries for a greater East Africa.
In an interview with The Exchange, Amb. Kazungu explained that Kenya and Tanzania have a deep history together and referred to the countries as brothers and not just neighbors.
“During the struggle for independence of our two countries,Mwalimu Nyerere played a significant role in helping Kenya gain her independence and was even ready to wait until for the two countries to obtain their independence at the same time.” explained Amb. Kazungu.
He added that the two countries have so much in common in terms of culture sometimes making it difficult to differentiate between the two.
Amb. Kazungu highlighted four priorities during his time in Tanzania: strengthening cooperation with Tanzania, managing border issues for the betterment of both countries,developing trade and investment between both countries and overseeing policy commitments of both governments.
The ambassador also urged both countries to set aside their differences and move on. This comes following reports of on and off disputes between the two countries in free movement of labor, capital and services.
“We must put aside our differences and learn from our past mistakes by finding the good in both of us. We are stronger when we are united.If there are any issues let us solve them through dialogue,” said the Ambassador.
Amb. Kazungu explained that in one of his past visits to the European Union (EU) he learned that the EU find East Africa more attractive if it is united as one bloc and therefore urged the two to resolve any longstanding issues .
‘’If we can fix issues between Tanzania and Kenya we can fix all the issues of the East African Community. Both countries should look at putting in place legal frameworks that are simple, stable and predictable that will be mutually beneficial and also attract investors from outside’’, said Ambassador Kazungu.
In strengthening ties between the two countries Amb. Kazungu explained there should be more integration in areas of education, manpower,trade& investment and political goodwill.
In relation to trade between the two countries,the balance of trade between the two countries stood at USD 213 million at the end of 2016 in favor of Kenya.Ambassador Kazungu called for more Tanzanians to come forward and market themselves in Kenya because there is nothing stopping them to do business in Kenya.