In the morning it seemed as though a technical problem with the plane might mess up Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier’s travel plans. Take‑off was delayed, but in the end Steinmeier and his delegation arrived safe and sound at their second African destination: Tanzania. In Dar es Salaam, the Minister met members of the Tanzanian Government and gave an address at the local university on “50 years of bilateral relations between Germany and Tanzania”. This anniversary and the close partnership between the two countries in development cooperation were the focus of the visit.
Tanzania was the second leg of Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier’s trip to Africa. After his visit to Ethiopia, the German Foreign Minister travelled to Dar es Salaam on Tuesday (25 March). He was met at the airport by Foreign Minister Bernard Membe. Later in the day, Steinmeier had a meeting with President Jakaya Kikwete.
A long shared history
The talks in Dar es Salaam focused, among other things, on German‑Tanzanian relations. The two countries are celebrating 50 years of bilateral relations this year.
On arrival in the country, Steinmeier headed first to Dar es Salaam University, where he addressed a large audience of students and professors from the Tanzanian‑German Centre for Eastern African Legal Studies on “50 years of bilateral relations between Germany and Tanzania”.
Steinmeier mentioned the MS Liemba, a German ship which has been carrying passengers across Lake Tanganyika for almost 100 years, saying it was a symbol of the long‑standing, valuable ties between the two countries. However, the German Foreign Minister also turned his attention to Germany’s current way of looking at Africa:
Today Africa is a continent of opportunity. It is a continent where societies develop fast and in manifold ways, thanks to their creativity, optimism and modern technologies. It is a continent that international investors race to. A continent of progress – but progress all too often ridden with conflict, fragility and inequality.
Sometimes I feel that Africa is developing much more quickly and much more diversely than our German view of Africa can keep up with.
Pivotal position between East, Central and Southern Africa
Following his visit to the university, Steinmeier once again met his counterpart, Bernard Membe. In the evening he had a meeting with President Kikwete in the presidential palace. The subjects on the agenda included the planned constitutional reform in Tanzania and the renovation of the MS Liemba, a project dear to both Germany and Tanzania. Steinmeier and Kikwete agreed that the cost of the renovation would be divided between the two Governments in addition to contributions from the private sector in Germany. Now the planning can go ahead, so that the Liemba can continue to sail on Lake Tanganyika even after its 100th birthday in 2015.
Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier is visiting Ethiopia, Tanzania and Angola from 23 to 27 March. On his first visit to Africa during his second term in office, Steinmeier wants to emphasise that Germany views the up‑and‑coming countries of Africa as partners in efforts to solve global challenges and believes that the resulting economic and social ties will bring opportunities for both sides.