India’s recent Africa-focused strategy is benefiting Tanzania significantly, and it involves setting up around 15 new missions in the region.
On Monday, India and Tanzania elevated their relationship to a strategic partnership. During her visit, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to enhance cooperation in trade, investment, defense, and counter-terrorism.
India’s increased engagement with Africa has greatly benefited Tanzania. New Delhi opened 15 new missions there. Following this, Hassan visited after agreeing to establish the first international campus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Also, at the recent G20 summit hosted by India, the African Union became a full member, marking a significant development.
Modi announced, “Today, we’re upgrading our friendship to a strategic partnership,” during a joint press conference with Hassan. In Hindi, he emphasized new opportunities for trade and investment, including proposing an agreement for local currency trade.
The two parties have also established a five-year plan to enhance their defense cooperation. This plan includes expanding into new areas such as military training, maritime coordination, capacity development, and the defense industry.
Modi emphasized that the IIT-Madras campus in Zanzibar, established as a symbol of our strong bilateral ties, will provide high-quality education to Tanzanians and neighboring nations. He highlighted Tanzania’s special role as India’s key development partner in Africa.
Modi said, “We, as countries connected by the Indian Ocean, stress the need to better coordinate on issues like maritime security, piracy, and drug trafficking.” He added that Tanzania is a valued partner in Indo-Pacific efforts.
Modi also highlighted their shared concern about terrorism as a major security threat. He mentioned their decision to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation.
Hassan referred to India as “an extended family member” and aimed to reaffirm Tanzania’s commitment to strengthening ties with India. She mentioned that India is Tanzania’s third-largest trading partner and thanked them for various contributions, including their support for the African Union’s G20 membership, initiation of debt relief for vulnerable nations, and assistance in developing clean energy in developing states.
Six agreements have been entered into by the two parties. These agreements comprise a technical agreement between the Indian Navy and Tanzania Shipping Agencies Corporation to share white shipping information, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for digital public infrastructure sharing, and an MoU between the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority and Tanzania Investment Centre to establish an industrial park in Tanzani2 vb.
In 2022-23, India and Tanzania engaged in bilateral trade worth $6.4 billion, with India being Tanzania’s largest export destination. This trade includes $3.9 billion worth of Indian exports. Furthermore, India is ranked as the fifth-largest investor in Tanzania, with a $3.7 billion investment and the successful execution of 630 projects, which have created 60,000 jobs.
During a recent media briefing, Dammu Ravi, the secretary for economic relations at the external affairs ministry, mentioned that India began using local currencies for trade last year. Both parties have established vostro accounts to facilitate this. Although a few transactions have occurred, the total amount involved is relatively small, approximately $50 million. This initiative is an ongoing effort.
In the context of the MoU on digital public infrastructure, Ravi emphasized that Indian companies have a promising chance to expand into sectors like fintech and digital payments.
Ravi highlighted Tanzania’s interest in safeguarding shipping lines to prevent piracy and interference in terms of security. During their talks, Modi and Hassan discussed potential cooperation in maritime security, focusing on combating piracy, drug trafficking, and terrorism.