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Kikwete Calls For More Trade Between Tanzania and Zambia
PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has pledged commitment to strengthening good relations between Tanzania and Zambia that have existed since the tenures of the two countries’ first presidents, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere (now deceased) and Kenneth Kaunda.

Speaking at the official opening of the Zambia International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Ndola on Sunday, Kikwete said all efforts will be made to ensure that joint investments in the Tanzania-Zambia railway (TAZARA), TAZAMA oil pipeline, and Zambia-Tanzania highway are further enhanced.

According to media reports from Zambia, Kikwete said infrastructure development is key to economic development in the two countries because it could reduce high costs of production, transportation, transaction, and value-addition to goods and services.

He acknowledged that a poor transport system is a barrier to efficient flow of business trade in goods and services between the two countries.

Kikwete called for continued support for the North/South corridor initiative because of the abundant benefits that can accrue for participating countries.

He said once infrastructure is developed in the North/South corridor, it will add value to the volume of trade in goods and services being handled in the corridor trade area.

He added that there are issues needing to be resolved in the Tunduma/Nakonde border area and the port of Dar es Salaam to enhance bilateral relations between Tanzania and Zambia.

According to the Tanzanian head of state, there is also a need to boost trade figures between the two countries from the current $20 million, which is said to be too low going by official statistics although there is also much trade going on unofficially.

He said the chambers of commerce in both countries should meet more often in order to exchange ideas and innovations in doing business.

He also called on Zambians to take interest and participate in Tanzania’s own trade fairs.

Speaking at the same function, Zambia�s Commerce Minister Felix Mutati also pledged commitment to ensure that innovation, creativity and enterprise are used as survival keys for business to overcome the negative effects of the global economic meltdown.

Meanwhile, both Tanzania and Zambia have been challenged to come up with measures to resuscitate operations of the ailing TAZARA railway, to ease the pressure being exerted by trucks on the Great North Road.

Zambia International Trade Fair (ZITF) chairperson Phesto Musonda threw the challenge in Ndola on Sunday at the official opening of the 45th ZITF.

He said investment in the construction and rehabilitation of rail systems can lead to reduction in road transportation costs, as well as prolong the lifespan of existing road infrastructure.

’’We all appreciate that apart from the ability to move bulky goods at relatively cheaper tariffs, rail operations are also more environmentally-friendly and fuel-efficient,’’ Musonda said.

He recalled that participants at a recent multilateral workshop held in Lusaka on the Southern African Railways Association corridor had underscored governmental commitments to improving rail transport in the region.

Musonda said SADC’s regional competitiveness can only be enhanced if railway companies improve their performance.
Source: This Day
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