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‘We Are Staying’: Denmark Announces It Will Retain Embassy in Tanzania

The Scandinavian country cites “a renewed need for partnerships in a volatile world” in shelving its earlier plan, which raised many questions.

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Dar es Salaam. Denmark’s Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen announced Thursday that the Scandinavian country will retain its Embassy in Tanzania, almost two and a half years after it announced that it would close it by 2024.

“In a time of global conflict, displacements, unemployment, poverty, climate change and food- and energy crisis, we need partnerships more than ever,” a statement quoted Mr Rasmussen saying.

“We need to come together around joint interests to address common challenges and explore opportunities,” he added. “Denmark and Tanzania might be 7,000 km apart, but our cooperation is deeply rooted.”

Denmark and Tanzania have partnered for 60 years. During this time, the partnership has supported national and local development, strengthened institutions, and ensured access to quality health services, education, and water. 

Job creation has been an equally important element in Denmark’s work, where farmers have access to finance and agricultural services. The Danida development partnership with Tanzania is Denmark’s largest ever.

READ MORE: Denmark to Close its Embassy in Dar in 2024

On August 27, 2021, Denmark announced the closure of the Embassy in Dar es Salaam, with the then Danish Foreign Affairs Minister Jeppe Kofod saying that the plan was part of an adjustment of Denmark’s international presence.

The announcement took many by surprise, given the strong relations between the two countries, with analysts wondering what the closure of the Danish Embassy would mean in real terms as the country has several initiatives in Tanzania, from development cooperation to promoting human rights and good governance.

Commenting on the plan of his government to retain an embassy in Tanzania, Danish Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, Dan Jørgensen, said that he looks forward to Denmark’s continued partnership with Tanzania. 

“It is indeed a happy day. We can be immensely proud of the results we have achieved together over decades,” a statement quoted him as saying. “We look forward to building on that to explore new areas of mutual interest such as climate adaptation, green transition, and peace and security.”

Thursday’s development followed a discussion in October between Tanzania’s Foreign Affairs Minister, January Makamba, and his Danish counterpart in Algiers, Algeria, the former revealed in a post shared on his X account.

READ MORE: Govt Dismayed at Denmark’s Intention to Close Embassy in Dar By 2024

“So, Denmark will continue its storied 60-year presence in Tanzania,” Mr Makamba announced. “I welcome this news with gratitude and happiness, aware of what it means for the relations between our two countries.”

Tanzania was the first African country with which Denmark initiated a long-standing development partnership. Over the years, the relations between Denmark and Tanzania have been described as “strong and amicable.” Denmark was, until recently, among the top four or six largest bilateral development partners in Tanzania.

Several Tanzanians welcomed the new announcement positively, describing it as good news for both the East African nation and Denmark.

“[I’m] so pleased to hear [the announcement],” wrote venerated lawyer and human rights activist Fatma Karume on X. “Denmark has been our friend and development partner for decades. We need to keep our friends and partners.”

Thomas Kibwana, an expert in Tanzania’s foreign policy and regular contributor to The Chanzo, wrote on X that he was glad to see Denmark maintain a mission in Tanzania and hopes more countries will open embassies there.

“This is welcome news,” he wrote. “Indeed, Denmark has been an important strategic partner to Tanzania since our diplomatic ties began in 1963.”

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