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Tanzania Foreign Minister Wraps Up Visit to Rwanda, Meets President Kagame

During this visit, Makamba met with his Rwandan counterpart, Vincent Biruta in a discussion of a wide array of topics including investment projects, trade, and infrastructure.

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Tanzania’s Minister of Foreign and East Africa Cooperation, January Makamba has concluded his bilateral visit to Rwanda on March 13,2024, by meeting President Paul Kagame.

During this visit, Makamba met with his Rwandan counterpart, Vincent Biruta in a discussion of a wide array of topics including investment projects, trade, and infrastructure. Makamba was accompanied by senior officials from the ministries of transport, trade, industry, ICT, agriculture, and energy.

In this visit, Tanzania has committed to ensuring more efficiency for the Rwandan cargo, 80 percent of cargo to Rwanda passes through Dar es Salaam port. On the broadband infrastructure which Rwanda uses some capacity from Tanzania, Tanzania is looking forward to getting more business in Rwanda. Tanzania is also looking forward to formalizing its cereal business with Rwanda.

Tanzania Minister’s visit comes about two weeks since the appointment of the former army chief, General Patrick Nyamvumba as a High Commissioner of Rwanda to Tanzania. Nyamvumba has served as a Minister of Internal Security of Rwanda and the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) Chief of Defence Staff. Nyamvumba will wait for Tanzania’s confirmation of the role for him to start his new duty.

While there have never been instances where an ambassador was appointed and not confirmed, there were long delays in confirming Ambassador Ali Siwa in 2014, who was then appointed by President Jakaya Kikwete to represent Tanzania in Rwanda. Ambassador Siwa is the current Tanzania’s Director of Intelligence.

Apart from trade and investment, Tanzania and Rwanda share security interests, especially around neighboring countries; DRC Congo and Mozambique.

Tanzania is in DRC as part of the SADC force’s mission SAMIDRC. DRC President, Felix Tshisekedi invited the SADC intervention after he had called for a speedy withdrawal of the UN Peacekeepers and following the conclusion of the East African Community regional force.

Tshisekedi accuses Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame of supporting the M23 rebels in the destabilization of DRC. On the other hand, Kagame accuses DRC of protecting the FDLR rebels, his sworn enemies.

On February 17, 2024, the US government released a statement condemning Rwanda’s support for the M23 armed group and called on Rwanda to withdraw all Rwanda Defense Force personnel from the DRC and remove its surface-to-air missile systems.

In response to the US statement, Rwanda said President Félix Tshisekedi, has repeatedly declared its intention to invade Rwanda and change its government by force, and that is the reason Rwanda has adjusted its posture including measures to ensure complete air defense of Rwandan territory.

Tanzania’s Minister’s visit to Rwanda could signal Tanzania’s caution in being drawn into a fully blown war inside Congo where the situation has continued to deteriorate. Even, when Tanzania press was hyping the country’s participation in the Congo SAMIDRC, the government slammed the reporting.

Another security interest is in Mozambique, on January 21,2024, Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan said that the country has an additional troop in Mozambique outside the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) following a bilateral agreement between Tanzania and Mozambique.

President  Samia cited two reasons for the agreement, first due to the presence of foreign country troops near the Tanzania border and second due to the activities of the terrorist groups.

Rwanda has sent about 2,500 soldiers in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, the deployment started in 2021, with about 1,000 soldiers. 

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