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Speech of Norway's Minister of International Development Nikolai Astrup at the Annual Al-Ta-No Event 2018

Minister Astrup addressing the guests at the Annual Al-Ta-No event 2018. Photo: The Embassy. 

 

Your Excellency, the Ambassador.

Dear Guest of Honor, Honourable Job Ndugai, Speaker of the National Assembly.

Dear Special Guests;

  • Hon. Dr. Ashatu Kijaji, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs
  • Hon. Eng. Dr. Stella Martin Manyanya, Deputy Minister of Industries, Trade and Investment
  • Members of Parliament present
  • Tanzania Revenue Authority, TRA

Other invited guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends of Norway and Tanzania who are here this evening.

I am honoured to be invited to this annual reception for members of AL-TA-NO. This is only my second visit to Tanzania, so I am not quite sure whether I qualify for membership.

However, ever since your independence, and the days of Mwalimu Nyerere, Tanzania and Norway have enjoyed a strong and close relationship.

Mwalimu Nyerere was a good friend of the Nordic countries, and he visited Norway on several occasions during his presidency.

Norway’s first engagement with Tanzania was in 1964 - the very year that your country was formed. We took part in a joint Nordic project to establish Kibaha Secondary School for gifted children from all over the country.

Since then, for over 50 years, we have worked together in a wide range of sectors:

  • infrastructure
  • health
  • environment
  • climate change
  • agriculture and
  • energy.

Norway is a long-standing supporter of Tanzania’s education sector. Close ties have developed between universities and other higher education institutions in Norway and Tanzania. These include universities and university colleges in Oslo, Ås, Bergen, Agder and Trondheim (NTNU) on the Norwegian side. And the universities of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Sokoine and Mzumbe in Tanzania.

Many of you here this evening have studied in Norway. I spent all my student years abroad myself, and I know that observing your own country from a distance, and living in a different culture, can be an eye opener.

Studying abroad gives you valuable insight into the country you are staying in, but it also gives you a new perspective on your own country and culture, enabling you to see opportunities and challenges with fresh eyes.

It is a tremendous asset for the Norwegian Foreign Service to have a network of more than 300 Tanzanians who have spent time in Norway. It helps both countries to further develop our ties.

In June 2017, your Foreign Minister, Augustine Mahiga, and Norway's Foreign Minister at the time, Børge Brende, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on holding regular political and diplomatic consultations.

Earlier this year, our current Foreign Minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide, hosted Minister Mahiga for the first annual political consultations in Oslo. Minister Mahiga also took part in this year’s Oslo Forum, an annual informal retreat for mediators to discuss ways of promoting peace and reconciliation in relation to the world’s ongoing conflicts.

This is my first visit to Tanzania as Minister of International Development. Earlier today, I had the honor to meet his Excellency President Magufuli. We discussed several topics relating to the future cooperation between our two countries, including development cooperation with Tanzania, how to best mobilize the private sector for economic growth and job creation, and human rights.

I have also had good meetings today with the Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning, who is here with us today, and also with the tax authorities on tax cooperation.

Norway will continue to support the Tanzanian Government’s efforts to enhance domestic revenue mobilisation through:

  • tax reforms and the fight against corruption,
  • provision of electricity to all Tanzanians,
  • sustainable management of petroleum resources,
  • provision of relevant vocational training, and
  • forest conservation.

We also support the Tanzanian Government's ambition to become a middle-income country by 2025.

In this connection, allow me to underline the importance of respecting fundamental freedoms and human rights, including those of minority groups, as this is a crucial factor for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

We will continue to work closely with the Government in our cooperation with Tanzania. We will also continue to listen to the voices of civil society and the private sector, as we believe these stakeholders have a very important role to play in forming a just and thriving society – in Norway, in Tanzania, and everywhere else in the world.

The roadmap for my work as Minister of International Development is Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

We are all on this journey towards 2030 together. Norway will continue to contribute in sectors where we believe we can make a difference. But to achieve the SDGs, we must take on board the fact that the 2030 Agenda is first and foremost a question of national resource mobilisation.

For Tanzania to achieve the SDGs and become a middle-income country, the private sector has a key part to play.

The private sector is crucial in order to:

  • ensure sustainable growth,
  • generate tax revenues,
  • create jobs, and
  • bring prosperity to all Tanzanian people.

Norway will remain a long-term, responsible and transparent partner in this endeavour.

Today, a number of Norwegian companies are creating jobs and generating tax revenues in Tanzania.

  • High-quality fertiliser that is adapted to Tanzanian soils is helping farmers improve their productivity.
  • Gas power plants are being built with the help of Norwegian engineering expertise.
  • Commercial forestry management is being improved through Norwegian investments.

I would like to emphasise the need for a stable, transparent, and predictable business environment. A growing number of investors, both domestic and foreign, will invest here if the business environment is right.

We know from our own experience from the petroleum sector how important this can be.

More than 50 years of development cooperation has fostered strong ties between our two countries, based on respect and trust.

Tanzania has a special place in the hearts of many Norwegians.

The world needs partnerships that cut across traditional divisions and geographical boundaries.

The friendship between our countries is one such partnership.

This event is an opportunity to celebrate all that has been achieved so far, and to appreciate the unity of the AL-TA-NO community. I hope you will all enjoy the evening.

Thank you! Asanteni sana!

From the annual Al-Ta-No reception at the Ambassador's residence. Photo: The Embassy.