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Steinmeier in Tanzania: Regional integration is a win-win strategy

To finish off his trip to Africa, Foreign Minister Steinmeier visited Tanzania on Sunday (22 November). The focus was on German support for the East African Community (EAC), whose headquarters in Arusha were funded by Germany’s KfW Bankengruppe (KfW banking group).

Arusha – the ‘Geneva of Africa’

It was already 1.30 p.m. when Foreign Minister Steinmeier arrived at the foot of Kilimanjaro on the last leg of his four-country trip. That left him only a brief half‑day visit before flying back to Hamburg in time for Monday morning and the funeral of former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. The Tanzania visit was kept on the programme even though time was tight as the country plays a particularly important role in regional integration in East Africa. The northern city of Arusha is home to the secretariat of the East African Community (EAC). The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights are also based there, which has led Arusha to be dubbed the ‘Geneva of Africa’.

Steinmeier in conversation with EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera

Steinmeier in conversation with EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera
© Thomas Trutschel/photothek.net

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Steinmeier in conversation with EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera

Steinmeier in conversation with EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera

Steinmeier in conversation with EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera

An important role in Burundi negotiations

Upon arriving in Tanzania, Foreign Minister Steinmeier first visited the EAC headquarters, a building which was constructed using 14 million euros provided through the KfW Bankengruppe. Speaking to the press after his meeting with EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera, Steinmeier said, “There has been tremendous progress in Africa in recent years, notably with regard to regional integration in East Africa.” Currently, he went on, the EAC had an important role to play in the negotiations in Burundi. Political tensions have been feeding a dangerous spiral of violence there for months. Steinmeier therefore expressed the hope that the negotiation efforts in Burundi would prove successful.

The Foreign Minister averred that Germany was very interested in the development of the EAC because of its own experience. Germany’s economic success, he explained, would not have been possible without the European Union. As he put it, regional cooperation was a “win-win strategy” which would benefit all involved in the long term, even though the journey may not always be easy. That, he said, was why Germany had invested more than 213 million euros in cooperating with the EAC since 1998. “We intend,” Steinmeier pledged, “to keep up and even intensify that positive collaboration.”

Anti-poaching efforts

Afterwards, Steinmeier presented the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) with two surveillance aircraft to aid their efforts to tackle poaching in the region. The area is home to some of the world’s most significant elephant and rhino populations, but they are in serious danger from illegal poaching. The German Government is helping the FZS to protect wildlife in the region through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

Before flying back to Germany on Sunday night, Steinmeier held an evening meeting with Vagn Joensen, the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The tribunal is currently being converted into a new institution which will deal with the remaining cases from the remits of the Rwanda and Yugoslavia tribunals.

Further information:

Country profile Tanzania


Last updated 24.11.2015

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