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Remarks by Ambassador Donald Wright at the Pamoja 60 Academic Conference
June 8, 2022

University of Dodoma

June 7, 2021

Minister Mkenda
Permanent Secretary Sedoyeka
Professor Tenge
Dr. Mmari
Esteemed panelists
Distinguished faculty and staff
Honored guests

It is my great pleasure to be with you this morning. I want to begin by thanking Minister Mkenda for joining us this morning. Honorable Minister, I think your presence here indicates not only the great value that the Government of Tanzania places on higher education but also the strong and fruitful partnership that the U.S. enjoys with the Ministry of Education. Ahsante.

I would also like to thank our host, the University of Dodoma, for its support of this very worthwhile and important conference. In particular, I want to thank Professor Tenge for the wonderful hospitality he has showed me this morning and for representing the Vice Chancellor and the senior leadership of the University of Dodoma. We are grateful for the warm welcome.

Of course, I also want to thank Dr. Mmari and the staff at REPOA for their excellent work organizing this event, as well as our previous Pamoja 60 Conferences.

I would be remiss if I did not also thank all our speakers and panelists for today’s conference. We appreciate your contributions.

Finally, I want to recognize all the students who are here today. I applaud your engagement and I hope you find today’s discussion beneficial.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As you probably know last year marked the 60th anniversary of the start of official diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Tanzania. To celebrate that milestone, the U.S. Embassy teamed up with REPOA to organize a series of conferences at some of the premier higher learning institutions of Tanzania to explore different facets of the U.S.-Tanzania relationship over the decades. During the course of this initiative, we have held conferences at the University of Dar es Salaam, Sokoine University of Agriculture, the Nelson Mandela Institute of Science & Technology, and St. Augustine’s University.

It is fitting that we culminate this series of conferences here at the University of Dodoma – Tanzania’s youngest public university – because today’s event is focused not on the past, but on the future.

Our theme today is “The future of Tanzania’s development trajectory and relations with the U.S.”

It is vitally important that we bring our greatest minds and best ideas together to think about the future because the 21st century will undoubtably be the African century. By 2050 one out of every four human beings on the planet will be African. The greatest challenges the world will face will be on this continent. And I believe the solutions to those challenges will also be found here.

As U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken said “Africa will shape the future – and not just the future of the African people but of the world.”

The question of today is what that future will look like.

I know that the Minister and our distinguished panelists are going to offer their perspectives on how Tanzania can use its natural advantages to ensure it capitalizes on the opportunities that are emerging.

For my part, I want to talk a little bit about where the U.S.-Tanzania relationship is heading.

The pillars of the U.S. – Tanzania relationship include:

  • Enabling youth to seize the opportunities that the future will bring
  • Increasing trade and investment between our countries
  • Bolstering peace and security in the region
  • And strengthening democratic institutions so that all members of society can participate fully in the process of governance

With respect to the first point, we are committed to ensuring that Tanzania’s youth are healthy, well-nourished, well-educated, and possess the right skills to seize the opportunities the future will bring.

This is why the vast majority of U.S. development support for Tanzania goes to programs that support the health and education of young people. We do this because we know that success begins at the earliest ages.

Just last month we announced the $250 million Afya Yangu program through USAID which will provide support for maternal and child health and improved health care delivery, especially in rural areas.

The U.S. is also helping Tanzania win the fight against COVID-19. Just a few days ago I joined with Minister of Health Mwalimu to launch the Global Vax initiative, a $25 million dollar effort to accelerate Tanzania’s vaccination campaign against COVID-19 because – as these past two years have taught us – none of us are completely protected unless all of us are protected.

In the education sector, the U.S. is also making critical investments to ensure Tanzania’s youth receive a foundation of quality education from the earliest ages. In the past 5 years alone, we have contributed over $65 million to Tanzania’s primary education system with a reading, writing, and arithmetic program for Standards 1-4.

If Tanzania’s youth are healthy and well-educated, they will be able to seize the opportunities the future will bring, and that brings me to the second pillar of the U.S.-Tanzania relationship, which is economic trade and investment.

You know, when I go around the country and talk to people, everyone I meet – from Ministers to guys selling coconuts on the street – they tell me that Tanzanians want trade, not aid. And I agree 100 percent.

Increased trade and investment between the U.S. and Tanzania benefits both our countries. I was privileged to accompany President Samia when she visited the United States in April and I will tell you that American companies are hearing the President’s message that Tanzania is open for business and they are extremely interested in setting up shop in this country.

U.S. companies don’t just bring investment, they bring a way of doing business that is sustainable, transparent, and values-driven.

We want to create local jobs and benefit local communities.  We support anti-corruption and transparency measures, so leaders and citizens can evaluate whether deals made on their behalf really are worth it.  And we want to protect workers and the environment.

Part of this involves investing in the energy of the future. As the urgency of the climate crisis grows, our focus will increasingly be on renewable energy sources. Tanzania has enormous potential in this regard.

Just down the road in Singida, an American company called Upepo is planning to invest hundreds of millions of dollars on a solar and wind energy project.  The company is working closely with TANESCO and the Ministry of Energy to finalize the deal, which we hope will be signed in the very near future so as to start construction and bring more reliable power to Tanzanians.

Another pillar of the U.S.-Tanzania relationship is security cooperation. When it comes to promoting peace and stability in the region, Tanzania has played a leading role through the decades. Whether by using diplomacy and mediation to resolve conflicts among neighbors or contributing troops to peacekeeping missions under the auspices of the United Nations, Tanzania has always been, to quote former President Bill Clinton, “a cause of peace and cooperation across the region.”

Unfortunately, we have seen that instability and insecurity are on the rise across the continent – even right on Tanzania’s doorstep.  Addressing these threats will be one of Tanzania’s crucial challenges over the coming years, and the U.S. is ready and willing to provide any support we can. Part of that means increasing cooperation between our security forces. I’m happy to tell you that following the visit last year of General Townsend, the U.S. AFRICOM commander, our security partnership has never been closer. And we hope to continue to expand that over the coming years.

The final pillar of the U.S.-Tanzania relationship is the one that undergirds everything else: respect for rule of law, democratic governance, and human rights. These are the pillars on which sustainable development rests. History shows that countries which uphold democratic values are more peaceful, stable, and prosperous in the long term. For Tanzania to seize the opportunities that the future holds, its people must be free to express their opinions and participate freely in the political life of the nation.

In this respect I think that the steps that President Samia has taken so far to increase political dialogue and lift restrictions on the media are very welcome, and we hope this is the direction the country continues to move in.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are here today to talk about the future and as I look out into the audience at all these young faces, I’m reminded that the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. And that gives me so much hope and optimism about where this country is headed.

I have been lucky enough to meet with many young Tanzanians during my time as Ambassador – especially the young folks who participate in our educational exchange programs like the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) –  and I always walk away dazzled by their optimism and energy.

The task before us as we look at the next 60 years and beyond is to harness that energy to build the future that young people in Tanzania want and deserve.

As we embark on that effort, know that the American people and the U.S. government will be by your side, as we have been for 60 years.

Tulikuwa pamoja, tupo pamoja, na tutakuwa pamoja

Thank you once again and I wish you a very enlightening and successful conference.