US vice president hails Tanzania’s leader as ‘champion of democracy’

US vice president hails Tanzania’s leader as ‘champion of democracy’

Kamala Harris is in East African nation for a 3-day official visit, according to US embassy

By Hassan Isilow

JOHANNESBURG (AA) - US Vice President Kamala Harris praised Tanzania’s leader Samia Suluhu Hassan on Thursday as a champion of democratic reforms in the East African nation.

“Madam President, under your leadership, Tanzania has taken important and meaningful steps. And President Joe Biden and I applaud you,’’ Harris said in a joint press statement with Hassan during her official visit to the country.

Harris said Hassan’s administration has made progress, noting that she has been a champion in terms of democratic reforms in the East African country, and in that way, the US has expanded its partnership with the country.

Hassan, who replaced the late President John Magufuli two years ago, has been widely praised for moving away from her predecessor’s hardline policies.

“You have been open to working with the political opposition. You have lifted the ban on political party public rallies. You worked to improve the freedom of the press. And just yesterday (Wednesday), you participated, as you mentioned, in the Summit for Democracy,” Harris said.

The US vice president said her visit to Tanzania is part of strengthening relations that date back several decades ago when President John F. Kennedy met with Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s founding father, in 1961, months before the country’s independence.

“The U.S.-Tanzania relationship has deep and historic roots. Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama all have traveled here in recognition of our strong partnership,” she said.

Harris announced a number of initiatives aimed at increasing economic ties between the two nations.

“The Export-Import Bank will sign an MOU with Tanzania, which will facilitate up to $500 million in U.S. exports to Tanzania in the areas of transportation, infrastructure, digital technology and clean energy projects,” she said.

She also said the US was launching a new partnership in 5G technology and cyber security with Tanzania.

For her part, Hassan thanked the US for supporting Tanzania in various sectors including health, education, water and sanitation.

She said the US PEPFAR program had helped Tanzania reduce HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis infections. Hassan said that through US support, malaria deaths have also been reduced.

“Through your support, malaria deaths…have now been reduced from 7.7 million in 2015 to 3.5 million in 2021. So we have gone halfway, and I’m sure with more efforts, we are going to reduce (them) further.”

Harris and her delegation landed at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Tanzania on Wednesday night after spending three days in Ghana. She is in the East African nation for a three-day official visit, according to the US embassy. She will conclude her Africa trip in Zambia later this week.

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