In a joint press conference after their meeting on the first day of her two-day state visit, the presidents expressed their commitment to cementing ties especially on trade and investments for the mutual benefit of the neighbouring countries.
Tanzania and Kenya have agreed to end wrangling at the long border and remove cumbersome taxes that hinder trade between the two countries that depend on each other for a substantial number of goods and services, the visiting leader noted.
“We have also discussed plans for the construction of a natural gas pipeline from Dar es Salaam to Mombasa,” she stated, highlighting that Kenya is now ranked fifth among countries investing in Tanzania and ranked first among EAC partner states.
Samia said Kenya had invested in 513 projects worth US$ 1.7bn and employed about 51,000 Tanzanians, while about 30 Tanzania companies have invested over Ksh19.3bn and employ about 2,600 Kenyans.
The president hinted at prospects of greater investments from Tanzania to the other side of the border, to increase the volume of trade, with inter-state trade volumes having reached $450m annually at present.
The two leaders also discussed strategic projects involving the transportation of people, goods and energy like electricity and gas, with the Dar es Salaam –Mombasa gas pipeline proposed project uppermost.
“I would like to inform you that we have today signed and its implementation will follow later,” she said.
On the East Africa Cooperation (EAC), the two leaders emphasized member states paying their premiums on time, to smoothen operations of the EAC Secretariat, she stated.
Improve trade and investment matters in agriculture, fisheries, tourism and industry was also agreed upon, where the two leaders underlined that the two countries have vast opportunities.
They agreed to utilise these opportunities to improve trade between the two counties and between them and the rest of the world, she stated
Inn this upbeat mood, President Samia invited President Kenyatta to be guest of honour on the occasion of 60 years of Independence for Tanzania Mainland, set for December 9.
In earlier remarks, President Kenyatta expressed the importance of fast tracking the construction of the Malindi-Lungalunga-Bagamoyo road, stretching along the busy coastline that includes Tanga and Mombasa port cities with a kindred culture, closely connected with Zanzibar to the east.
Experts say that zone can also serve to offer a more integrated tourist destination, along with Mafia to the south, also set in the Coast Region as Bagamoyo.
Commenting on the gas pipeline, the Kenyan leader said the project will improve trade and help industries to get enough and cheaper power source, thus boosting production.
“We have also discussed the peace and security of our people and countries especially the war against terrorism,” he said, touching on an issue that is besetting a number of countries in the region, with the developing chaos close to the southern border in Tanzania, and the restive refugee camps in north east Kenya.
The two countries signed an agreement to strengthen cultural tiesk and social integration, as well as enhance links in health, tourism and aviation sectors.
“I would like to reaffirm the government’s commitment to work hand in hand with the Tanzanian government to ensure the goals of the fathers of our two nations are attained,” the host president emphasised.
Later during the day, President Samia laid a wreath at the grave of Kenya’s first president the late Jomo Kenyatta, at the head of a colourful military procession.
Observers pointed out that Kenya has been high on President Samia’s agenda, similar to former President John Magufuli who visited Kenya nearly a year into his presidency in November 2016, while his predecessor Jakaya Kikwete made a three day state visit as a farewell run towards the end of his second term, October 2015.
On her arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the 61-year-old was received by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo and Ambassador Amina Mohamed, a well known diplomat in the region who formerly held the post and is now Cabinet Secretary for Sports.
She thereafter proceeded to the State House for talks lasting three hours with President Kenyatta. She first stood for a 21-gun salute and inspected a guard of honour.