Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan landed at Melchior Ndadaye International Airport in Bujumbura on Friday for a two-day official visit during which she is expected to introduce her country as an investment destination and sign bilateral trade agreements.
This is her first visit to Burundi as President, after attending the funeral of former President Pierre Nkurunziza last year. The Tanzanian leader was received by the Burundian vice-president Prosper Bazombanza.
The two presidents held a closed-door meeting at Maison Ntare in Bujumbura before addressing the press in the afternoon. President Évariste Ndasyihsimiye said he had agreed on exchange programs in the fields of agriculture and livestock, and in services, mainly in the teaching of Kiswahili and French.
The Burundian fertilizer company Itracom is said to be opening a plant in Tanzania, where it has invested $ 180 million.
President Samia touted the trade ties between the two countries, noting that bilateral trade has grown from $ 35 million in 2015 to more than $ 86 million in 2019.
“This is not enough, because we want to increase trade between the two countries,” she said.
Burundi is heavily dependent on the port of Dar es Salaam and the Central Corridor for imports and exports of goods. Last year, 476,000 tonnes of Burundian goods passed through the port of Dar es Salaam. President Samia said her country had already allocated 10 hectares to a dry port in Kwala, in Tanzania’s coastal province, for Burundians to use to transport goods.
In September last year, when President Ndayishimiye made his first official visit outside the country, he met the late President John Magufuli in Kigoma, Tanzania, where they agreed to build a railroad. narrow to transport nickel from Burundi. The railway should go from Uvinza to Gitega via Musongati. The largest nickel deposits are in Kabanga, in the Ngara district in Tanzania and in Musongati in Burundi.
The two governments set up a permanent commission which was to meet and study the modalities of implementation of the project.
“We have agreed on the construction of roads and railways from Uvinza-Musongati and Gitega, so we asked our finance ministers to find funds to carry out these operations,” said the Minister of Finance. Tanzanian president, adding: “With these minerals in both countries, we can come together and build a bigger market.”
Burundi has 231 metric tonnes of proven nickel reserves across the country at Nyabikere (46 MT), Waga (35 MT) and Musongati (150 MT). Last year, the two governments agreed to build a nickel refinery. Burundian minerals traders have been granted access to use the Kigoma mining market in western Tanzania.
President Samia also celebrated the entry of Tanzania’s national high-speed fiber-optic network into Burundi with a capacity of 100 GB. In 2019, Tanzania and Burundi signed an agreement to use the system, but the usage is still low at 26 GB.
President Ndayishimiye has given priority to improving relations with neighboring countries and the international community.
The Tanzanian government has called for the lifting of sanctions against Burundi that were imposed in 2015 when the late President Pierre Nkurunziza challenged a third term in power, sparking protests and a political crisis.
President Samia also pledged her support for Burundi’s candidacy for membership in the Southern African Development Community.