Ali Idi Siwa, High Comissioner of Tanzania
Ali Idi Siwa, High Comissioner of Tanzania

Putting the difficulties of the past behind, Rwanda and Tanzania are committed towards strengthening the bilateral relations and promoting peace, prosperity and development. Ali Idi Siwa, High Commissioner of the United Republic of Tanzania to Rwanda, discusses the political and economic cooperation between the two countries.

European Times: How would you describe the cooperation between Rwanda and Tanzania?

Ali Idi Siwa: Both countries are currently headed by visionary likeminded leaders who are committed to enabling rapid progress and discovering new horizons. The cooperation between Rwanda and Tanzania is crucial for further regional integration through the East African Community (EAC). We are focused on increasing the trade between our countries and harmonizing the movement of people through simplified trade regimes, as well as opening international markets and new settlements closer to the border.

European Times: Which are the main areas of cooperation?

Ali Idi Siwa: Our countries are already closely connected through the central corridor and our current main priority is to construct a railway line, which will significantly reduce the transport time of goods and will further reduce the cost of doing business. It is a project of five countries: Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, DRC and Burundi, but Kigali is crucial since businessmen from DRC and Burundi can pick up goods from Rwanda’s capital. The railway line will also reduce the congestion in Dar Es Salam and at the borders as well.

In addition to the construction of the railway line, the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) is monitoring the implementation of bilateral projects in various areas. Recently we added four areas of cooperation to the existing 20, including energy, education, health, defence, public service and others, which are being tackled simultaneously. I am confident that the cooperation between our countries will increase exponentially in the following period.

In the energy sector we have the joint Rusuma hydro power project between Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi. Also, we are focused on speeding up the construction of Tanzania-Rwanda Interconnector and Tanzania-Zambia-Rwanda interconnector which would further ease electricity trading between Zambia, Tanzania and Rwanda.

European Times: Which sectors are most attractive to Tanzanian businessmen and investors here in Rwanda?

Ali Idi Siwa: One of the mandates of the Tanzanian High Commission is to improve possibilities for cross-border trade and investment from Tanzania, which also contributes to support Rwanda’s drive to become a middle-income economy. Currently we have 17 investors, and investments range from US$400.000 to US$29 million. With a trade volume of over US$81 million, these investments provide employment for 936 people, mainly in construction, real estate, production and tourism.

European Times: What is your personal message?

Ali Idi Siwa: With excellent education system, investor-friendly business climate and hardworking people, Rwanda has superb potential. Its strategic location offers access to the entire East African region, so investing in Rwanda is gaining access to a market which is significantly larger than the country itself.