Speech by the EU Ambassador to Tanzania at the Official Europe Day 2024 Reception (2024)

Honourable Minister Dr. Nchemba,

Ambassadors and heads of missions present,

Senior government officials,

Religious representatives and distinguished members of civil society and the media,

Members of the Youth Sounding board and EU alumnis,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends of Europe,

Karibuni sana!

I am very happy to receive you all here tonight. It is my first time to host this celebration in Tanzania and yet I am able to see already so many friendly and familiar faces: Tanzania has welcomed me warmly and I am well settled here.

Ahsanteni sana kwa kunikaribisha vizuri katika nchii hii. Nawashukuru sana.

I am honoured to host you tonight with all the resident ambassadors of EU Member States. We work together as a team; we are Team Europe as you can see tonight. Thank you very much dear colleagues for being here and for having a strong Team Europe in Tanzania!

United in diversity is our guiding line and strength, as it should be in many other areas of the society.

The European Union is a strong partner of Tanzania and I would just like to provide a few examples of the multiple dimensions of our partnership:

First, we are partners in trade and business: the EU is the fourth largest market for Tanzania’s exports. Tanzania has a trade surplus with the EU, also due to the strong tourism from the European Union: EU citizens are by far the largest group of tourists coming to enjoy the beauty of this country.

Second, European firms increasingly invest in Tanzania. We believe European investment is quality investment for this country. It is greener, respectful of people and their rights, and especially it is long-term focused.

Thirdly, we are partners in development: Tanzania is a long-time beneficiary of very significant grants from the EU and Member States. Team Europe is committed to ownership and to inclusive development. Our support reflects your own national priorities, we discuss together these priorities.

And let me also mention the European Investment Bank, which we are glad to see very active in Tanzania and which is listening to your calls for soft loans that can boost your capital investment.

Through our Global Gateway approach, we want to support our partners such as Tanzania to build the capacity, the networks and the bridges necessary to join the global markets as equal, unleashing the economic development potential of the country. That is why the strategy we agreed with the Tanzanian authorities, with your ministry, is focused on green and smart cities, blue economy, value chains and digital economy.

We are also, and this is certainly not the least of our priorities, partners in values: the European Union wishes to promote inclusive growth and development, for the benefit of all your citizens, including the most disadvantaged.

Poverty is still widespread and women and youth are disproportionately affected. Yet Tanzania needs the uplifting and empowerment of young people and women. It needs concerted efforts and focus to ensure that no one is left behind and equal opportunities extend to all.

In the last years, we have seen exemplary leadership from President Dr. Samia Suluhu Hassan promoting a gender equality agenda in Tanzania. Our commitment for support is strong and visible: cumulatively, as EU plus Member States in Tanzania, we are currently investing some 560 billion shillings in women’s and girls’ empowerment.

One very important component of our commitment to youth in Tanzania is the openings for scholarships under the Erasmus+ programme. Top quality fully-sponsored higher education in English is regularly on offer on competitive terms. The current participation of Tanzanian students to the Erasmus+ Programme is still quite limited compared to potential demand and the opportunities offered. We discussed challenges and opportunities in the panel this afternoon, just before the opening of this event. We hope to see the increase in applications soon!

And as we see today, a substantial number of Tanzanians have studied in the different Member States of the European Union based on national scholarships. I was very impressed when I saw many of you here have studied in the EU. I hope that that alumni network will grow stronger in the months to come and encourage further Tanzanians to come to the European Union for studies. We all benefit from this intercultural exchange.

We also want to concretely show that we value young people, their ideas and their energy. We launch today the Youth Sounding Board for Tanzania: these are 25 talented youth, here with us tonight, who were selected after a competitive process on the basis of expertise, experiences and engagement on youth affairs. They will advise me and my colleagues on youth participation and empowerment for a period of two years.

Our focus on values also mean genuine commitment to democratic principles of pluralism, rule of the law and respect for human rights. The signature of the Samoa Agreement in 2023 has cemented once again the consensus on these values between the African, Caribbean and Pacific states –including Tanzania which also played a lead role in negotiations-- and the European Union. It is a landmark agreement that brings together more than half of the UN members, from four continents, around shared priorities and interests. This is no small achievement: the current geopolitical context is making the world less cooperative and more transactional, precisely when we would need more trust and cooperation to face major global challenges, like climate change, loss of biodiversity, and inequality.

The Samoa Agreement will now be the basis for the comprehensive partnership dialogue that we plan to hold in the coming months with the government of Tanzania.

During the dialogue, I am sure we shall have the possibility of also exchanging about the challenging international environment. At the occasion of Europe Day, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, published a reflection on the current state of EU and global affairs, and he said, I quote: “Power politics is back. The world is becoming more multipolar and less multilateral. From trade to investment, from information to migration, all types of interaction are being weaponised and global competition has escalated into confrontation. Once again, world peace is seriously threatened”.

The European Union was born as a project of peace over the ruins of WWII and it has been very successful in making former enemies partners and friends. We might think this is a long time ago. It is not: I am sure many of us here have parents that were children during the war and this experience has left marks as everywhere in the world. No one of us wants to experience war and violence and yet many children experience this again now, even on the European continent.

In these complex times, the EU is not shying away from its responsibility as a global actor. Let me touch upon three issues in this respect:

We have demonstrated that the EU is a reliable security partner recently in the neighbourhood with our EU Training Mission in Mozambique to help fight terrorism and restore security in the Cabo Delgado region. Through the European Peace Facility, we have already dedicated more than € 1 billion in three years to help the African Union and different African countries equip their armed and security forces. Maritime security is also a major concern, and we are helping fight piracy with operation ATALANTA in the Western Indian Ocean.

Our commitment to peace and security will remain firm to engage with willing partners in the region. United in diversity instead of conflicts and violence, this is the only way to ensure that citizens and countries and thrive and develop. This is what the European Union reflects and on which we will invest with the Member States as Team Europe in the future.

Asanteni Sana!

Speech by the EU Ambassador to Tanzania at the Official Europe Day 2024 Reception (2024)
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