President Jakaya Kikwete, who spoke at the official opening of the recent Zambia International Trade Fair (ZITF), has announced his commitment to strengthening general relations between Zambia and Tanzania, in part by enhancing Zambia-Tanzania trade relations by encouraging increased investment in the Tanzania-Zambia railway (TAZARA) system, the TAZAMA oil pipeline and the Zambia-Tanzania highway.
In addition, also reported the Tanzanian president as having said that the infrastructure development of the two countries was vital to the successful development of their economic situations as well as it could help to lower the overall costs of production, transportation, transaction, and value-addition to goods and services.
During his speech, President Kikwete called for the continued support of the current North/South corridor initiative as it provides an excellent opportunity for participating countries to accrue various benefits.
Following the development of the infrastructure system in the North/South corridor, President Kikwete indicated that it was expected for the overall volume of trade in goods and services that were handled in the region to increase in their value.
In addition, President Kikwete also indicated that bilateral relations between the two countries would be improved following the resolution of several issues in the Tunduma/Nakonde border area as well as at the port of Dar es Salaam.
Along with these changes, President Kikwete also expressed the need to enhance the existing trade figures between the two countries, which, according to official statistics, stand at USD 20 million.
In order to meet these needs and to ensure the continued exchange of ideas and innovations in doing business, the Tanzanian head of state suggested that the chambers of commerce for both countries should begin meeting more regularly and more often.
According to the Zambian Minister of Commerce, Felix Mutati, who also spoke at the event, in order to ensure that businesses within the two countries are able to overcome the effects of the global economic crisis, Zambia has also expressed its commitment to ensuring that innovation, creativity and enterprise are readily employed.
At the same time, the two countries are also being faced with the challenge of determining the most effective methods to use in order to resuscitate the TAZARA railway so as to lessen the weight that is currently being exerted on the Great North Road.
While speaking at the ZITF event, Phesto Musonda, the ZITF chairperson, indicated that the overall cost in road transportation as well as the extended lifespan of the existing road infrastructure would likely come as a direct result of increased investment in the construction and rehabilitation of countries rail systems
“We all appreciate that apart from the ability to move bulky goods at relatively cheaper tariffs, rail operations are also more environmentally-friendly and fuel-efficient,” he said.