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December 21, 2023

By U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Tanzania Michael A. Battle Sr.

December 21, 2023

 

My wife Linda and I happily arrived in Tanzania in early 2023 to begin my second ambassadorial posting.  From the moment I presented my credentials to President Samia Hassan, I have been committed to collaborate with the Government of Tanzania to continue to strengthen our bilateral relationship to advance peace, prosperity, security, and the health of our citizens.  As we celebrate the holidays with family and loved ones, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on our shared accomplishments this year as we prepare for the work ahead in 2024.

Increasing trade and investment between the U.S. and Tanzania is one of my top priorities as Ambassador. Following the historic meeting between President Samia and Vice President Kamala Harris earlier this year, we rolled up our sleeves and finalized the Commercial Dialogue with our Tanzanian counterparts.  The Dialogue is a commitment by our governments to increase two-way trade and investment, to improve the ease of doing business through technology, transparency, and regulatory reforms.  The Commercial Dialogue will work hand in hand with USAID’s economic growth strategy.  As I travel throughout this beautiful country from Zanzibar to Kigoma or Arusha to Mbeya, I meet with government representatives, civil society leaders, alumni and private sector representatives with a focus on generating business opportunities for Americans to work with Tanzanians.

Take for example the USAID agricultural portfolio, which in 2023 allocated over $30 million to priority areas identified by the Tanzanian government.  These include laying the groundwork for the development of a fertilizer production hub, increasing agricultural productivity, promoting climate smart agricultural technologies, and catalyzing private sector investments in agriculture.  This assistance is designed to increase trade and investment, in direct support of the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit goals.  Further, USAID has improved protection for almost two million hectares of land while simultaneously helping 64,000 people to increase their incomes through the preservation of Tanzania’s rich natural heritage.  With a steadily increasing stream of tourists and international students coming to Tanzania, I know the best is yet to come.

Global health security remains an important area of focus in our partnership, and our largest U.S. investment supports the health of Tanzanian citizens. Since 2003, PEPFAR has provided $7 billion of support for HIV prevention, care and treatment, and health systems strengthening in Tanzania.  In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, PEPFAR currently supports over 1.4 million people living with HIV on life-saving antiretroviral drugs.  On World AIDS Day, I was pleased to see Prime Minister Majaliwa announce results from the national 2022 – 2023 Tanzania HIV Impact Survey showing that Tanzania is on the cusp of controlling the HIV epidemic.  The Prime Minister was spot on when he called for young people and men to go and test for HIV.  Tanzania is incredibly close to reaching the UNAIDS 95-95-95 objectives, and HIV testing is the key to reaching that goal.

When the Marburg Virus Disease was first identified in Tanzania in March, the health sector reached out to international partners and responsibly and transparently addressed the challenge. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

(CDC) proudly partnered with the Government of Tanzania to assist with surveillance, epidemiology and data management to contain the outbreak, which was declared officially over on June 2, 2023.

As Ambassador, I appreciate the President’s articulation of the pillars for multiparty democracy in Tanzania being Reconciliation, Resilience, Reform and Rebuild, and encouraged our embassy team to work within this framework to encourage Tanzania to take important and meaningful steps toward democratic reforms.  From safe communities to healthy families, to a better future for Tanzanian youth, it is vital to continue to expand space for citizen participation.  The Tanzanian people are this country’s greatest asset, and we are proud to collaborate to support Tanzania’s ambitious reforms.  We close 2023 on a high note, as the Millenium Challenge Corporation selected Tanzania for a threshold program which will support Tanzania’s economic and reform goals while paving the way for increased investment and the potential for a full MCC compact.

Few countries in the world prioritize peace and stability in the way that Tanzanians uphold this core universal value.  We are grateful for our continued military cooperation as evidenced through Joint Combined Exchange Trainings with the Tanzania People’s Defence Force and the commencement of construction of new barracks at the Tanzania Defence Intelligence College.

Tanzania’s grace and hospitality inspires all of us at the embassy to execute strategic and effective programs which will deepen our nation’s long-standing friendship far into the future.  As the holiday season begins and we look forward to a new year, we at the Embassy wish all Tanzanians the peace and blessings of the holiday, together with good health and prosperity.