News from Berlin
German-Tanzanian Relations: Respecting the Past and Looking Forward to the Future
March 26th, 2014
News from Berlin - On March 26th German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited the East-African trade hub Dar Es Salaam and met with his Tanzanian colleague Bernard Membe, President Jakaya Kikwete and gave a lecture at the University of Dar Es Salaam. In his speech, he addressed the Tanzanian youth and the several challenges it will have to face in the years to come. He also acknowledged the fast changing and diverse development that is taking place in the region at the moment and was critical of the image Germans have about Africa where the continent has often been referred to as the “dark continent”. Nowadays investors run to Africa, however the perception of the continent does not change in the same speed.
Steinmeier also addressed the role of regional integration concerning the East African Community which has its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. Tanzania is a key driver in East African integration and the Foreign Minister stated that the integration of Europe is what made its members politically stable and peaceful after World War II.
The Minister also mentioned the German colonial history in Tanzania and the German responsibility to “preserve the footprints of the past, as opposed towiping them off”. Only through making the colonial past visible could it be dealt with in the appropriate way. He appreciated the fact that the Tanzanian National Archives were managing several documents from the colonial administration and heritages of the time, to make the past better comprehensible.
This notion of knowing the past relations of countries, whether they were good or bad would be a key to establish good relations between Tanzania and Germany. Diplomats as well as the students of the University of Dar Es Salaam are concerned who listened attentively to Steinmeier’s speech.
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