Remarks With Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete
Secretary of State
Mr. President, you have the floor.
PRESIDENT KIKWETE: Madam Secretary of State, let me once again welcome you to Tanzania. We are so happy that you were able to come and put Tanzania in your itinerary. Your visit speaks volumes about the state of our bilateral relations in many ways (inaudible) visits by officials of our two countries have contributed (inaudible) relations.
Tanzania has very fond memories of the visit by President Bush. I have had the (inaudible) of visiting the White House three times, twice in President Bush’s time and once during President Obama’s time. Tanzanians are now anxiously waiting for the visit of President Obama, and I can assure you if he chooses to visit, that’s going to be a visit of a lifetime. (Laughter.)
Well, our two countries have strong relations. And I mean, these last few years have been better than ever in the history of our two countries. We see eye-to-eye on many international issues and work together in international fora on regional and international issues.
Tanzania has received a lot of invaluable high-level support from the U.S. Government. It has complimented our development efforts and continues to make a difference in improving the lives of our people in the health sector. Through the U.S. Government, thousands of Tanzanians, including women and children, who would have died of diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and TB, are alive today thanks to your support. Through your support, deaths from malaria has been reduced by half, from 120,000 per annum to 60- and 80,000. Malaria has been eliminated in Zanzibar. In the past, 40 percent of visitations to hospitals were of malaria cases. Now it’s only 20 percent.
(Inaudible) reduction of maternal and child mortality is very much a function of the capacity built on controlling malaria and HIV/AIDS. The infection rates in HIV have climbed down from 18 percent in the 1980s to 5.4 percent. These days, pregnant women who are infected with HIV are assured of giving birth to HIV-free children, and thanks again to the PMI, President’s Malaria Initiative, and PEPFAR in this regard.
In education, I had many requests to you and to the President when I visited in May 2009 to support us with teacher education and with textbooks. You have delivered on that promise. We have 200 Peace Corps (inaudible) science and mathematics teachers. We have received already 800,000 textbooks, science textbooks and mathematics’, 1.4 million are on the way. The availability of textbooks in our schools has been increased. Eight thousand teachers have been getting training through U.S. Government support. The MCA, Millennium Challenge Account, has done so well. New roads have been built, water supply has been improved, electricity supply has been improved, and MCA alone benefits 8 million Tanzanians. It is quite phenomenal, and that’s why we appreciate it.
Our two governments have been working together on some of the global scourges like terrorism, narcotics, piracy. And through the support of the U.S. Government helping build the capacities of our security organs, we have been making tremendous successes in this regard. Tanzania has become a difficult place for perpetrators of these crimes now to operate. Recently we caught this kingpin of narcotics, this Kenyan lady Mama. Terrorists who pass through here are always apprehended. We have caught a number of them. Piracy is another problem for us, but we are dealing with them. We’ve encountered several of them. We have 11 of them that we arrested them at sea trying to hijack ships in our territorial waters.
And all this is something that we attribute to the support of your government. So Madam Secretary, I can say that we thank you for the support and U.S. taxpayers’ money is well spent in the U.S. and it’s making a big difference – again, support that we are part of the new initiatives, Partnership for Growth, we can’t really find words to thank you, Madam. (Inaudible) the international issues we have been working together and African challenges and global challenges, we appreciate U.S. leadership. Where U.S. leadership is there, it makes a lot of difference.
So (inaudible) is appreciated, continue to work with the U.S. Government for peace and development in Tanzania, in Africa, and the world. Once again, welcome, and I will give the floor to you, Madam.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Mr. President, thank you very much for your generous hospitality and the time that we have spent together this morning in a very wide-ranging and comprehensive discussion, certainly about the progress that is being made here in Tanzania and the commitment that the United States has to work with the government and people of this country on nutrition and food security, on energy, on women’s and children’s health, on HIV/AIDS, sustainable development, and so much more.
There is a reason why I’m here and why our commitment is so strong, and that is because the United States and Tanzania have a deep partnership. We are united by mutual respect and mutual interests, but most of all by shared values and the aspirations for a more peaceful and prosperous future. We respect Tanzania’s record of democratic progress, which is making it a model for the region and beyond, and we support the continuing efforts to strengthen the institutions of democracy.
I had a wonderful opportunity yesterday to visit some of the projects that the United States is doing with Tanzania, and we are very impressed with the level of commitment that we have seen from the people working in these areas. So we will continue to support you and your country, Mr. President, because you are making a real difference.
I also want to thank you for your work on increasing economic integration through your leadership and membership in the East African Community and now through the exciting initiative that you discussed in SADC of creating a free trade area from Cape Town to Cairo. That’s a long-term objective, but it’s a worthy goal.
So we not only talked about what was happening here in Tanzania, but also the regional and global outlook. We discussed Madagascar and Zimbabwe, Sudan, and Somalia, and many other important issues that Tanzania is watching carefully and which the president and his government are involved in trying to address.
So Mr. President, again, thank you for your leadership and thank you for your very kind invitation to meet with you and to compare notes on many of the issues that Tanzania is confronting and the issues that affect the neighborhood as well. Thank you, Mr. President.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Madam Secretary, for your statements. We will now open the floor to the media. We will allow one or two questions from each side, the American side and the (inaudible) with no opportunity for a follow-up question because it’s in the interest of time. And so the floor is now open, so please introduce yourself, mention your affiliation, and ask your questions.
QUESTION: Thank you. David Malingha Doya of Bloomberg News. Mr. President, when you met President Obama to discuss about what his Administration will do for Africa, you advised a focus on agriculture. I would like to know as Tanzania, what have you done in the first place to improve (inaudible) agriculture and what kind of support are you getting from the American Government? Thank you.
PRESIDENT KIKWETE: Okay. Well, of course, it is true I raised the issue of agriculture because our concern is focused on the African continent. We want to lift up people from poverty to prosperity. Eighty percent of the people live in rural areas and agriculture is the mainstay. But it is peasant agriculture, local activity, and that’s why we have got to do something. If you want to make a difference in poverty, deal with the agriculture question. This is our policy internally. We have a number of initiatives to deal with the constraints that are facing agriculture. MSDP is one of them, where it is essentially because of our government tackling the challenges of agriculture.
And then we go to the private sector. We – through the Kilimo Kwanza Agriculture First Initiative. Now we broaden that. It is now bringing in the agriculture the private sector that is Tanzanian, but we also – we are also going global. With the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor, SAGCOT, we are now bringing in the international players now – Monsanto (inaudible). On the seed side, on the seeds we have Yara fertilizers, Unilever, a number of these (inaudible) players also coming in to (inaudible) with Tanzanian private sector and Tanzanians in promoting agricultural growth.
Of course, on the American side we are getting the support that (inaudible), of course. We’ve been working together with the U.S. Government, USAID, in a number of programs. But now we have bigger programs, Feed the Future, where we are part of this and it’s still going to help us address the challenges of food security and nutrition, which is part of that.
Of course, the support we are getting through MCA of doing the roads, extending electricity, all of these are going also to help promoting agriculture. The two roads – Namtumbo-Songea-(inaudible), Tunduma-Sumbawanga – (inaudible) with those good roads definitely these goods can get to the markets and promote growth in those areas. So this (inaudible) I can say there is so much (inaudible) and about promoting agriculture. The USAID is helping us in the – in SAGCOT itself. They have contributed $2 million to the Catalytic Fund. So we are getting a lot of support. We appreciate that.
MODERATOR: The next question will come from an American journalist.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President and Madam Secretary. I was hoping you would discuss a little bit the proposals being discussed even now to send peacekeepers into the Abyei region in Sudan and reports that President Bashir has pledged to withdraw troops from the region before independence on July 9th.
And Madam Secretary, is it possible that you would be willing to meet President Bashir later today in Ethiopia? Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT KIKWETE: Well, let me start. Indeed we discussed Abyei, but what I can say is that after the unfortunate incident, we had discussions with many friends, including Ambassador Carson – I think we were on the phone – discussed about it. I spoke to President Bashir. I also spoke to President Salva Kiir of Southern Sudan. And my appeal to them has been that let them sit down and sort out the problem. Indeed, there has been some progress in, I think, the meeting today in Addis Ababa, and let’s wait what’s going to come out of the Addis Ababa meeting.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Steve, I am going to wait to get a report from the ongoing discussions. They went long into the night and are, as the president said, continuing today in Addis Ababa, where we will be later this afternoon.
The United States strongly believes that a robust peacekeeping presence should be a central part of the security arrangements in Abyei and that the Government of Sudan should urgently facilitate a viable security arrangement, starting with the withdrawal of Sudanese armed forces. So we would welcome both parties agreeing to ask Ethiopia, which has volunteered to send peacekeepers, to do so as part of a United Nations mission that will be strengthened.
But I’m not going to go further than that until I get a full readout of what is occurring in Addis Ababa. The United States has made our views very clearly known to both President Bashir and Vice President Kiir, and I am looking forward to hearing positive news out of their ongoing discussions with Prime Minister Meles and former President Mbeki.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Madam Secretary. We’ll now take the second and final question from the Tanzanian media.
QUESTION: My name is (inaudible) from the Pan-African News Agency. Mr. President, what you have said about the piracy in the Indian Ocean is (inaudible) concern in this region. And at the same time you have mentioned the United States cooperation in this area. I don’t know whether there is any specific plan of the United States to help the countries of the region to have a safe area in the Indian Ocean and do the trading as normal as has been that in the past. At the same time, may I ask you, Mr. President, do you have any specific assistance you would be pleased to see come from the United States to assist for these countries to fight pirates?
PRESIDENT KIKWETE: Well, as I said, piracy is a problem. From March last year through to date, we have had 27 incidents of piracy encounters in our territorial waters. Of course, the problem used to be in the Horn. Now it’s moving south. Fifteen of those have been attempts to hijack ships. They succeeded in four. Our navy was able to rescue two ships. This year alone, we have had, I think, over 14 incidents from January to date.
So as I said, our navy is engaging them. We had four direct encounters with the pirates and have been able to apprehend 11. We caught 11 of them. They’re in our courts here, in our courts. So you can see (inaudible). Of course, the U.S. has been helping us, training of our navy, and we want continued support in this regard. We are still looking for the possibilities of getting bigger ships, but we have not been able to discuss that with the U.S. Government and we are still waiting on getting bigger ships so that we’d be able to go into the deeper waters to be able to (inaudible). So if we get big ships, we should be able to take care of our territorial waters.
The second question?
QUESTION: Mr. President, Madam Secretary, if I could, I’d like to ask about one of Tanzania’s more unfortunate neighbors, that being Zimbabwe. In the year of the Arab Spring, I’m wondering what should Africa’s message be to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe this year. He shows no sign of releasing his grip on his unhappy country. And specifically what is SADC prepared to do this year or ahead of the next elections that it has not done in previous years that will help to guarantee that Zimbabwe’s elections are free and fair and do not turn into another sort of bloody exercise in intimidation?
PRESIDENT KIKWETE: Well, of course, you’re right. Zimbabwe as well has been one of our issues that we’ve been dealing with for quite some time. And in the SADC summit we held on the 11th and yesterday, Zimbabwe – besides Madagascar, we also discussed the issue of Zimbabwe.
And the understanding has been that as they go into elections, they should make sure that all the aspects of the roadmap or the Global Political Agreements are implemented. There have been ten of them. They have done six, but you see there are four that are remaining, and among them is the important issue of the constitution. They have finished (inaudible) the constitution, finished the referendum (inaudible) the processes of the parliament (inaudible) for elections.
So about who is to become the leader in Zimbabwe, that is a matter that is beyond my capacity.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I would only add to the last two questions, which the president answered very well and comprehensively, with respect to piracy, the United States is working with Tanzania and other countries in the region because we view this as an international security threat and the Obama Administration is undertaking a thorough review of what more could be done. And the president and I discussed that and we are very impressed by the steps that Tanzania has taken on its own to apprehend pirates in their territorial waters and to hold them for trial here in Tanzania.
Secondly, with respect to Zimbabwe, I think the U.S. position is well known and we are encouraged by the SADC meeting discussing Zimbabwe yesterday which emphasized the importance of President Mugabe following the requirements of the Global Peace Agreement. This is what was agreed to. This is what we expect him to implement. And we are grateful for the leadership of Tanzania and others in the region who are making it very clear what the way forward should be. We will continue to follow this closely and support the work that Southern Africa is doing.
Thank you all.