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Indonesia’s President Tours Tanzania Months After East African Nation Opens Embassy in Jakarta

The two historical allies commit to increasing their cooperation, especially in the agricultural sector. 

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Dar es Salaam. Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo winded his two-day state visit to Tanzania Tuesday as part of his long African tour, which would see him visiting neighbouring Kenya, South Africa, and Mozambique.

Regarded as Indonesia’s first president not to have emerged from the country’s political or military elite, Widodo, popularly referred to by his supporters as Jokowi, touched down at the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere International Airport on Monday, received by Foreign Affairs Minister Stergomena Tax.

While in Tanzania, Widodo met face-to-face with his host President Samia Suluhu Hassan, and they agreed to strengthen the economic and social ties between the two countries. The two Heads of State signed seven Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to realise that goal.

The signed MoUs cover cooperation in a wide range of sectors, which include defence, energy, agriculture, fisheries, blue economy, and mining.

A statement by the Director of Presidential Communications, Zuhura Yunus, said Tuesday that the two leaders also agreed to revive the Farmer’s Agriculture and Rural Training Centre (FARTC) to boost agricultural cooperation between their respective countries.

Located in Mkindo, Morogoro, FARTC was established in 1996 by the Indonesian government to allow Indonesian agriculture experts to train Tanzanian farmers. Ms Yunus said that the centre significantly contributed to improving the agricultural sector in Tanzania, necessitating its revival.

Monday’s visit by Widodo to Tanzania is the first visit by the President of Indonesia to the East African nation in the last 30 years. The Indonesian President’s last visit to the nation happened on December 5, 1991, involving the country’s second President, Soeharto.

Mr Widodo’s visit also comes almost two months since Tanzania inaugurated its High Commission in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, on June 22, 2023. Before that, Tanzania’s engagements with Indonesia occurred from the former’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

READ MORE: Towards Improved Economic Ties Between Tanzania and Indonesia?

Agriculture is the main area of cooperation between the two countries, signified by the Indonesia-Tanzania Joint Agriculture Cooperation Committee (JACC).

The commission serves as a vehicle to improve agricultural sector cooperations, such as capacity building through training, joint research, and expanding market access to agricultural products.

According to the information on its website, the Indonesian High Commission in Tanzania is not happy with the current level of economic trade between the two countries, which it thinks does not reflect its true potential.

For example, it points out that the total bilateral trade volume is still considerably small and mostly conducted through third parties.

Indonesia’s main export commodities to Tanzania are garments, soap, instant noodles, stationery, furniture and apparel, while Indonesia imports cotton, peanut, fruits and other agricultural products from Tanzania.

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