President Paul Kagame is expected in Dar es Salaam on July 1 to begin a state visit to Tanzania, during which he will open the 40th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF) and hold talks aimed at strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries.
During the tour, Mr Kagame and his host are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the areas of cooperation between the two countries that were finalised by a joint committee of experts from both countries.
According to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, East African, Regional and International Cooperation, Ambassador Augustine Mahiga, the state visit by the Rwandan leader follows an invitation extended to him by President John Magufuli.
The two neighbouring countries last month agreed to form a joint implementation committee (JIC) to closely monitor important areas of bilateral agreed during the 14th session of the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC).
They agreed to bolster bilateral ties in various key sectors, including strengthening relationship in the aviation sector, especially between the two countries’ national airlines – Rwandair and Air Tanzania.
The meeting also agreed to fast-track infrastructure development on the central corridor, which combines road and railway network – as an essential trade and transport route linking the two countries with neighbouring Burundi, Uganda and the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Other areas of cooperation include increasing the pace on the construction of the envisaged multi-trillion shilling standard gauge central railway line project.
The 14th JPC meeting came following the directives issued by President Magufuli and his Rwandan counterpart in Kigali in April during the former’s maiden trip outside the country since he was elected into office last October.
This means the signing ceremony of the MoU will be putting in record the areas of bilateral ties between the two countries. “The signing ceremony of the MoU will be held upon arrival at the Magogoni State House in Dar es Salaam on July 1,’’ said Ambassador Mahiga.
Later in the day, Mr Kagame and his team will proceed to the Saba Saba Grounds along Kilwa Road in the city to launch the DITF, also known as Saba Saba Trade Fair. Dr Magufuli will later in the evening host a state banquet in honour of the visitor and his entire delegation.
According to Dr Mahiga, the state visit by President Kagame is in response to the one Dr Magufuli paid to Rwanda in a special programme to enhance good working relations between Tanzania and her neighbours.
During Dr Magufuli’s state visit to Rwanda, the two presidents pledged to strengthen relations to enable their citizens to work together for their mutual benefit and accelerated development.
Mr Kagame’s visit will be the first since Dr Magufuli was elected president. He will be the second head of state to visit Tanzania since Dr Magufuli took oath of office in November, last year. The first was Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang.