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Karibu Tanzania, President Obama!

1st July 2013
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Editorial Cartoon

We see no problems assuming that US President and most of those on his delegation jet into Tanzania today long aware that they are landing into a country blessed with a wide array of natural resources and proverbial tourist attractions.

This is in part because Tanzania and the United States boast decades of close, indeed cordial, relations in all manner of sectors and aspects: diplomatic, business, culture, education – the role of members of the US Peace Corps is especially memorable – science and technology, you name it.

We can state with certainty that millions of American citizens have skimmed through documentary evidence and leant that anything between one-fifth and 40 per cent of Tanzania’s land area is under wildlife sanctuaries in the form of well over a dozen national parks, some 30 game reserves, over 40 wildlife management and game controlled areas, and several marine parks.

Perhaps most importantly, they will have discovered that Tanzania is also home to the famous Roof of Africa – that is, Africa’s highest mountain, the snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro.

With Tanzania easily among the tourist destinations of choice for US nationals, it is also to be expected that few Americans have yet to hear the news that the attractions the Land of Mount Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar Spice Islands Unguja and Pemba boasts include “wonders of the world” like Serengeti, Mikumi, Manyara, Gombe (chimpanzee) national parks, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Crater, as well as the historical Zanzibar, Bagamoyo and Kilwa/Mikindani “stone towns”.

So, the VIP delegation may wish to find time to know more about – and admire – extensive tracts of wilderness stocked with near infinite wealth of wildlife comprising rare fauna and flora and rich diversity of scenery Tanzania is endowed with, some of which are officially recognised by agencies like UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

Much as we may expect the US first family and the rest of the Obama delegation to be dying to have a close view of these features of Tanzanian geography and history, though, we know that it will be people – and not historical sites, etc. – that will be at the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam to welcome our guests to our country and later to take them around then country as per official arrangements.

Therefore it will be well worth the time and effort to assure our guests that they are coming to a developing African country whose record as a land of generous and peace-loving people and as a champion of human dignity and freedom has little parallel.

Granted, being the developing country it is, Tanzania has its share of social, economic and various other problems and challenges. Some of these are daunting indeed and cannot be addressed appropriately and conclusively enough without injections of outside or foreign assistance.

For instance, it is common knowledge that Tanzania would benefit immensely from cooperation with the outside world in turning its mineral, marine, forest and other natural resources into real wealth that would more effectively contribute to its social and economic development that would ultimately translate into better lives for our people than now obtains.

As agencies like the country’s Export Processing Zones Authority and the Tanzania Investment Centre keep saying, there are numerous investment opportunities in all these sectors as well as in agriculture – as always standing as the “backbone” of the country’s economy.

Our attention is here drawn to recent remarks to journalists in Dar es Salaam by the US Ambassador to Tanzania, Alfonso E. Lenhardt, to the effect that one major factor that has prompted President Obama’s decision to visit our country is to demonstrate the importance the US attaches to its deepening ties with Africa.

Much like Obama himself, the ambassador had every hope that the visit would “reinforce the growing ties with countries in sub-Saharan Africa through expanding economic growth, investment, and trade; strengthening democratic institutions; and investing in the next generation of African leaders”.

No wonder, the envoy made an impassioned appeal to Tanzanians to produce more for the American market as a way of more gainfully exploiting the US African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and therefore further strengthen trade relations between the two countries.

Just for the record, the US is rich in coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, rare earth elements, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber, etc. In fact, it boasts the world’s largest coal reserves, accounting for some 27 per cent of the world’s total.

Tanzania is at different levels of working on natural resources such as hydropower, tin, phosphates, iron ore, coal, diamonds, gemstones, gold, natural gas and nickel.
Generally speaking, it has barely scratched the surface and would have a lot to gain from more experienced and technologically superior nations like the US. So, why not give the US President and his entire delegation a wholehearted KARIBUNI TANZANIA? KARIBU SANA, RAIS BARACK OBAMA! 

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN