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Tanzanian president reaffirms commitment to Commonwealth

11 August 2017

President John Magufuli has pledged to stand firmly behind new Commonwealth initiatives to boost trade, address climate change and support justice reform.

The Tanzanian head of state was speaking at a meeting with Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, who arrived in the country yesterday for a three-day official visit.

The Secretary-General briefed President Magufuli on seminal research done by the Commonwealth Secretariat, which shows that historical ties and shared legal structures make it on average 19 per cent cheaper for countries in the 52-member group to trade with each other.

She highlighted the potential of new Commonwealth initiatives such as the recently launched Office for Civil and Criminal Justice Reform, aimed at supporting access to justice, judicial reforms, tackling legal issues associated with violence against women and girls, gender discrimination, corruption, climate change and other challenges. The president and the Sectary-General also discussed the Commonwealth’s new Regenerative Development to Reverse Climate change programme.

The president congratulated the Secretary-General for being the first woman to take the “big job” of heading the Commonwealth-Secretariat, adding that he trusted her to improve the intergovernmental organisation and promising Tanzania’s whole-hearted cooperation and support.

“It was a great honour to speak with President Magufuli as I arrived in Tanzania, a country which is exemplary in the fight against corruption. I was able to highlight some of the cutting-edge programmes that the Commonwealth is now pioneering, and discuss how Tanzania can both contribute to and benefit from our drive to boost social and economic growth and achieve and surpass the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Secretary-General Scotland. She added that she was looking forward to speaking with other ministers and stakeholders.

The Secretary-General also met with Minister of Education, Prof Joyce Ndalichako. They discussed Commonwealth scholarships and measures to improve vocational training and introduce information technology skills into early education curriculums.

The Secretary-General briefed the minister on the outcomes of the recent Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting in Uganda, including the decision to create an innovation hub to share best practice and solutions to challenges in education and a range of other areas.

The visit to Tanzania is part of a relationship building tour of Commonwealth Africa. On Saturday, the Secretary-General will travel to Mozambique.