Tanzania, Germany Turns New Page

  • Samia says the two nations will address shared colonial past
  • Germany ready to repatriate artefacts, human remains

President Samia Suluhu Hassan and her Germany counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier have agreed to address their shared colonial past aimed at strengthening ties between the two nations.

At the State House in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday, the two leaders made their commitments shortly after holding bilateral discussions and later briefed the media.

The discussions, according to President Samia, were centred on enhancing ties between Tanzania and Germany, including open negotiations to see how the two nations can agree on the Germany colonial legacy.

“We have had lengthy conversations and are now prepared to start talks to figure out how we can reach a consensus on what happened in the past, and how we proceed, and I know there are families who are still waiting for their loved ones’ remains that are in German museums,” President Samia stated.

Dr Steinmeier, who arrived in Tanzania on Monday for a three-day working visit, said it was critical to deal with that dark chapter, which would necessitate collaboration between the two nations.

“We must agree on doing more research and adding more knowledge on what happened during the colonial period, so that we can see how to turn a new page.

We in Germany are ready to repatriate artefacts and human remains that are in German museums to Tanzania,” he said.

Germany ruled mainland Tanzania, then known as Tanganyika, from the 1880s until 1918, when it was captured by British forces during World War I.

He further said, “I am also delighted to be invited to visit the graves of victims of the 1905-1907 Majimaji rebellion and meet with their descendants,”.

Today, President Steinmeier will travel to Songea District in Ruvuma Region to visit the Majimaji War Museum and the Majimaji Primary School, which are the only museums in Tanzania showing the great history of the Majimaji War in the liberation movement against German colonialism.

It is estimated that up to 300,000 people were killed in the so-called Majimaji War between 1905 and 1907. Dr Steinmeier will be the first German state representative to meet such relatives today.

Dr Samia emphasised that the federal government is a trustworthy friend and partner and that both nations have had successful working relationships for the past 60 years. The goal, in Steinmeier’s opinion, is to fortify and future-proof these positive connections.

Tanzania and Germany have good diplomatic relations that have lasted for more than 60 years. She said these two countries have been collaborating on various strategic sectors, especially in trade and investment, water, health, gender equality, women’s empowerment, biodiversity conservation, finance management, tourism, heritage and culture, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation’s

President Samia stated that more collaboration was possible when it came to bolstering economic ties.

“It is still possible to increase investment and trade. The tourism industry is likewise covered by this. There are already several German travellers visiting Tanzania. However, there is still room to grow there as well,” she said.

She further said that they discussed and underlined how crucial business and investment relationships are for promoting social and economic development. She also mentioned that at least 178-180 German projects are operating at different levels in Tanzania.

Dr Steinmeier emphasised, “I hope that this visit will provide an impetus for our economic relations.” The Federal President was accompanied by a business delegation who wanted to explore the opportunities for new business prospects.

He further applauded President Samia for measures taken to strengthen democracy and the rule of law.

“This is all the more to be admired and respected as we both live in a world in which democracy and democratic structures have come under increasing pressure. Germany, the federal government will be happy to support you on this path of domestic reforms.,” he noted.

The Germany President went on to say that they visited Tanzania not only to strengthen the relationship between the two countries but also to deepen the firm economic partnership and make it stronger beyond politics.

Regarding gender, Dr Samia stated that Tanzania was concentrating on the economic empowerment of women and gender equality through a project named Gender-responsive Public and Private Quality Care, where they discussed the possibility of working with Germany in that regard.

Building young people’s capacity in the digital economy is what’s coming up next, she said.

“In our conversation, we have emphasised the importance of promoting this cooperation for the benefit of our countries and its people and in this we have directed the Tanzanian and German teams of experts to continue with the dialogue and regular consultations aimed at improving the existing areas of cooperation and identifying other new areas with importance to the economies of our two countries.

I have assured President Steinmeier that the Tanzanian government is ready to host the next negotiations on development corporation in 2024,” said President Samia.

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