September 22, 2005

Presidential economic commission with South Africa established

President Thabo Mbeki and his Tanzanian counterpart Benjamin Mkapa have signed an agreement to establish the Presidential Economic Commission (PEC) to strengthen their bilateral relations. After signing the agreement, President Mbeki said there was a very big trade imbalance between the two countries which was however in favour of South Africa. According to him, the commission should intensify the relations to benefit both countries. He was furthermore glad that President Mkapa had signed the agreement before stepping down. "Tanzania is very close to our hearts. It is a very important fellow 'terrorist' that was our first base which led to South Africa's liberation," he said jokingly.
The PEC is a joint commission on economic development chaired by both presidents. It has already identified corporation on agriculture, tourism, transport and mining. It will also be responsible for relaxing Visa arrangements in order to attract investment for both countries.
President Mkapa noted that he was glad that he participated in the institutional framework of establishing the commission, saying Tanzania was already benefiting from massive South African companies investing in his country. "We want to thank South Africa for your help in promoting peace and stability especially in Burundi, Rwanda and Cote d'Ivoire, I think you deserve our greatest encouragement.
Commenting about his achievements in the past ten years as President of Tanzania, Mkapa said he had tried to serve his country accordingly, despite political and economic instability. Mkapa also expressed concern about the next electioneering weeks as there were ten presidential candidates in the elections scheduled for 30 October, saying there were possibilities for violence and other disturbances. Meanwhile, Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa signed with his Tanzanian counterpart, the avoidance of double taxation, mutual assistance on customs and investment promotion and protection agreements. (Bua News, Tswane)

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