Malawi and Tanzania need to improve their relationship-Mutharika

President Prof. Peter Mutharika has emphasized on the need for Malawi and Tanzania to continue strengthening the existing cooperation to enable the people of the two nations to benefit from the fruits of good neighbourliness.

Speaking at Kamuzu Palace when he hosted the Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr. Augustine Mahiga, Mutharika said despite the Lake Malawi wrangles, the relationship between the two nations has always been cordial and should be enhanced.

Said the President, “Malawians and Tanzanians are basically one and the same people as they share similar cultures, language, practices; and a common ancestral heritage. As one people, it is important to continue strengthening our historical relations that exist between us.”

The Tanzanian Minister and his team were in the country for the Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation (JPCC).The main objective of the meeting was to find meaningful ways on how the cooperation between Malawi and Tanzania could be strengthened.

Meanwhile among others, for the first time, the two nations have signed Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) a development that Mutharika described to be the beginning of the a new chapter.

“Last week I had a meeting with My Brother, His Excellency, Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, President of the United Republic of Tanzania in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where we discussed various issues of mutual interest. The meeting opened a new level of cooperation, since both of us have strong desires to improve and enhance our relations to the higher levels.

“I am also grateful to Tanzania for accepting Malawi’s invitation for a Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation (JPCC) Meeting here in Lilongwe where am told among others, the commission has for the first time signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Political and Diplomatic Consultation through which the two countries will cooperate on matters of foreign relations which include: holding of quarterly meetings between Ministries of Foreign Affairs in each other’s countries with Resident Missions, holding bi-annual meetings between Ministries of Foreign Affairs and convening of the JPCC’s according to schedules,” Mutharika explained.

He added, “I am gratified that the meeting also made a lot of important agreements towards trade and investment promotion between the two countries which include: the establishment of the Simplified Trade Regime (STR) which will economically benefit Small and Medium scale businesses plying their trade between our two borders; establishment of the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) at Kasumulu/Songwe Border, which will make it easier for our traders to ply trade between the two countries.”

The two nations also agreed on finding solutions to the Tariff and Non-Tariff Measures by March 2017, which affected trade between the two countries especially duties charged on Malawi Sugar in Tanzania and a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) which will create a new opportunity for the air travel business and investments as it will enable Malawian Airlines to expand its operations in Tanzania.

Mutharika also revealed that Malawi and Tanzania have agreed to improve on areas of transport and communications systems including rehabilitation and upgrade of the road transport networks of the Northern Corridor and the joint exploration of feasibility of constructing rail links between Mbeya and Northern Malawi, Mbeya and Itungi Port to Malawi, and Mtwara through Mbamba Bay to NkhataBay.

“The operationalization of the Mtwara Development Corridor will go a long way in enhancing our shared goals in the socio-economic development of our countries” the Malawian leader said.

Dr, Augustine Mahiga said the commission also agreed on the development of the Songwe River Basin Development Programme, enhance cooperation in energy matters, tourism, health, education, agriculture, mining, fisheries, sports and gender.

“We have also agreed to start training each other’s Diplomats; Cooperation in Local Government Authorities whereby officials along the border Districts and regions of our two countries will be meeting on a regular basis to share best practices for mutual interest; cooperation in public service management reforms and supporting each other in common positions and each other’s candidates in regional and international meetings,” the Tanzanian minister said.

Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA