Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Monday, October 9, 2023.
Tanzania, India eye expanded trade in local currencies
India and Tanzania have expressed a desire to expand bilateral trade using local currencies in a move that will be received with open arms by businesspeople from both countries.
This was revealed on Monday in a joint statement issued after President Samia Suluhu Hassan met and held talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Indian capital, New Delhi.
President Samia is in India for a four-day state visit that has so far seen about six bilateral agreements between the two traditional allies signed, covering defence, energy and investment, among others.
During a joint press conference, Mr Modi said he and President Samia discussed ways through which they could take Tanzania-India relations to strategic levels, touching on the currency issue as one of the strategies that will accomplish that.
“I discussed with President Hassan the need for us to speed up the use of our respective currencies when we trade,” Mr Mondi said. “Our bilateral relationship has never been better than now, and this move will take our relationship to new heights.”
Monday’s development comes almost eight months since the Indian High Commission in Tanzania announced on March 15, 2023, that the Indian Central Bank had cleared the way for trade using local currencies, i.e. Indian rupee and Tanzanian shilling, by allowing the authorised banks in India and Tanzania to coordinate.
The statement added that the two sides agreed to continue with the “consultations to address any concerns to ensure the sustainability of this arrangement.”
It also said the two sides agreed to increase bilateral trade volume, directing the respective officials to explore new trade areas.
The announcement also comes almost two months since BRICS nations, which include India, resolved during their August 2023 summit in South Africa to work together on the issue of utilising currencies that are not subject to geopolitical manipulation and sanctions.
Experts have described the proposal as “a good move” as it will reduce the two countries’ dependence on the US dollar.
Read the joint statement between Tanzania and India in full here to find out areas of cooperation that the two nations have agreed on.
Two Tanzanians missing in Israel following Hamas attacks
Tanzania’s embassy in Israel is trying to trace the whereabouts of two Tanzanian students said to be missing in the region of Israel, which was hit by the Hamas attack at the weekend, the BBC reported on Monday.
Ambassador Alex Kallua told BBC that his mission has been to be in contact with approximately 350 Tanzanians around the country, most of them students.
“We understand that two students are missing in south Israel, where the situation is not okay,” the envoy said. “The two were on their internship pursuing agri-business studies.”
“We believe the two are fine and hope to get them safe,” he added. “The embassy is also closely monitoring the situation to have everyone safe.”
Around 350 Tanzanians are living in Israel, including around 260 students pursuing agricultural programmes, according to the embassy.
Activists in Zanzibar call for more women’s participation in leadership
A consortium of three non-governmental organisations has released a circular identifying key legal and policy gaps constraining women’s participation in political and democratic leadership in the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar.
The organisations – Tanzania Media Women’s Association in Zanzibar (TAMWA – Z), Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association (ZAFELA) and Pemba Environmental and Gender Protection Community (PEGAO) – issued the circular on October 5, 2023.
The circular comes at a time when Tanzania and Zanzibar are preparing for general elections due to take place in 2025, where people will have the chance to vote for councillors, members of parliament, members of the House of Representatives (Zanzibar), and presidents.
Women are unfairly represented in political and democratic leadership in Zanzibar, representing only 38 per cent of the House of Representatives, according to the circular that the three organisations issued.
Full story here.
Second International Conference on FGM kicks off in Dar
The Second International Conference on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) kicked off in Dar es Salaam on Monday, with the Minister for Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups, Dr Dorothy Gwajima, calling on actors to prioritise the fight against FGM to save girls’ welfare.
Organised by the African Union Commission, the conference will see hundreds of delegates from 21 African countries arriving at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam to deliberate on ways to end the practice in Africa.
An estimated 55 million girls under the age of 15 in 28 African countries have experienced or are at risk of experiencing FGM, which remains prevalent in parts of West, East, Central, and Northern Africa.
Officiating the three-day conference, Dr Gwajima said enough is enough with FGM, saying the practice needs to stop now to allow girls to live decent lives not associated with health risks.
“We have to develop long-lasting solutions to the practice,” Dr Gwajima called on conference participants. “We have to address this issue at the local level by engaging traditional and religious leaders as well as people’s associations.”
The Tanzanian minister also called on all actors to prioritise the fight against FGM just like they do with other issues, pleading for more funding to end the scourge of FGM in Africa.
“We have a very short funding for this issue,” Dr Gwajima revealed. “We have to assign FGM the same priority we assign to such issues as education and health. Ending FGM is synonymous with empowering girls and women across the continent socially and economically.”
Over 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone the practice, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15 and is considered a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
Treatment of the health complications of FGM is estimated to cost health systems US$1.4 billion per year, according to WHO, a number expected to rise unless urgent action is taken towards its abandonment.
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