Tanzania, Belgium mark 40 years of links

By Getrude Mbago , The Guardian
Published at 01:17 PM May 20 2024
Peter Huyghebaert, the Belgian ambassador
Photo: Courtesy of Belgium Embassy
Peter Huyghebaert, the Belgian ambassador

BELGIUM has reaffirmed commitment to support Tanzania’s development priorities while utilising various investment and trade opportunities facilitating sustainable development.

Peter Huyghebaert, the Belgian ambassador, said at an occasion to mark 40 years of bilateral links between the two countries that cooperation-programmes are intended to contribute to addressing challenges of social economic inequalities, climate change and urbanisation.

The event similarly took up marking the Enabel, the Belgian development agency overseeing cooperation projects the country initiates all over the world, was formed as a public-law company with social purposes, by a parliamentary act of December 21, 1998 with online chroniclers saying ‘Enabel’ is a Belgian variant of the English verb ‘enable.’

Belgium and Tanzania set up diplomatic ties four decades ago, working to address shared challenges and seizeing opportunities for growth and prosperity, he said, pointing at the rail network where Belgium aided in its revamping in the 1980s, providing technical assistance and equipment

Transport (railway and port) were key areas of cooperation along with health (mostly HIV/AIDS prevention), education, water and sanitation, along with agriculture, natural resource management and public finance management, the envoy explained.

.“Our support for the port sector dates to the beginning of our bilateral relations. In 1984 (and even before then), Belgium supported the construction and rehabilitation of ships on lakes Victoria and Tanganyika and provided technical assistance and training to the then Tanzania Harbours Authority and the National Shipping Agencies Corporation,” he remarked.

Koenraad Goekint, Enabel’s country representative, said the agency is committed to fostering gender-balanced environments for the youth and entrepreneurs, collaborating with the relevant stakeholders to provide vocational training aligned with market needs.

It also seeks to promote the growth of young entrepreneurs capable of generating employment opportunities, he said, citing the signing last year of a new five-year programme for girls’ empowerment.

It targets empowering young people, especially girls and young women, in specified districts of Kigoma Region through secondary education, skills development, entrepreneurship and the creation of a safe and gender equal environment, he explained.

Enabel is also involved in sustainable agriculture projects in water and sanitation in the region, together taking up 20m euros.

Ambassador John Ulanga, international trade and economic diplomacy director for the Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation ministry, expressed gratitude on the efforts of the agency to support the country towards sustainable and inclusive development.

The bilateral ties need to be maintained to utilise opportunities in various areas including investment and trade to further promote development as Belgium is emerging as one of the country’s biggest trading partners, he added.