(Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)
Speech by H.E Dianna Melrose
Karibuni. Habari za jioni?
Nimefurahi sana na ujio wenu marafiki zangu jioni hii. Najiskia mwenye bahati kuwa balozi katika nchi hii nzuri sana.
Kwasasa naomba niongee kwa kiingereza.
Good evening. Welcome! It’s a real pleasure that so many of you have joined us this evening.
I feel very privileged to be the new HC in this beautiful country. I was told before I came that Tanzanian people are very warm and welcoming. That has certainly been my experience. I’d like to thank the Tanzanian government, partner organisations, the diplomatic and British communities, members of the British Business Group and all of you here for being so welcoming, and for coming this evening.
We are here to celebrate the official birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth - the head of the Commonwealth family of nations. Last week there was a service at Westminster Abbey to mark 60 years since her Coronation. Respect for her unstinting dedication and hard work has grown over the years. Next Saturday President Kikwete will join our Prime Minister to watch the ceremony of the Trooping of the Colour in her honour.
We are also here to celebrate the close ties between the UK and Tanzania.
It’s striking how many British people I’ve met in Tanzania who came intending to stay for a year or two, are still here 20 years later. And, how people I’ve met in the UK who lived and worked here decades ago, still have a keen interest in Tanzania and keep coming back to see old friends. It’s been very interesting hearing from Tanzanians of all ages about their experience studying at British universities.
There are of course long standing links between Tanzania and the UK. Our bilateral relations today are warm and strong. Increasingly they are about working in partnership to achieve shared goals.
The UK is the biggest foreign direct investor in Tanzania. We have a common interest in attracting more companies to invest and do business in Tanzania to help stimulate economic growth. To help do that, we are stepping up our partnership with the government, companies and others to work on creating a better business environment.
Cutting the cost of doing business will also spur development of the Tanzanian private sector, creating economic opportunities, jobs and a way out of poverty.
There is an increasing economic focus to the UK’s large development programme in Tanzania, which will grow to over £200 million next year. One example is a new programme in support of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor (SAGCOT).
It is designed to attract international investors into commercial agriculture, boost production and the incomes of smallholder farmers. Other programmes supported by DFID are promoting innovation, increasing access to finance, and removing barriers to trade and regional economic integration. These programmes are all based on partnership with key development actors, including the government, the private sector and civil society organisations.
The UK continues to be the largest bilateral provider of budget support to the Tanzanian Government, with our financial aid supporting nearly half a million children in school last year. Through a £60 million DFID-funded programme, the British Council is making an important contribution to improving the quality of education, working alongside Government partners, and the volunteer organisation VSO.
The British Council is developing teacher trainers’ English language skills. It is piloting innovative ‘Learn English Audio’ devices – already used by 700,000 Zanzibari student
s. And last year, the BC’s partnership with Microsoft enabled 70 schools to connect to the internet.
Almost a year since the successful London Olympics, 45,000 Tanzanian children now have access to school clubs, and community coaching in volleyball, football and athletics through the British Council’s International Inspiration programme.
As in all our countries - Tanzanian people want to see concrete responses to their priority concerns and to be able to hold decision makers to account. The UK is an enthusiastic supporter of President Kikwete’s Big Results Now initiative, and DFID provided funding to help get it off the ground. We will continue that support, and hope it will deliver tangible results.
Another challenge facing Tanzania is to ensure its natural resource wealth is used to promote inclusive economic development for the benefit of all, including the poorest. This year the UK has the Presidency of the G8. In the run up to next week’s summit, on Saturday there will be an event in London focussed on achieving fairer tax, freer trade, and greater transparency over extractive industries and land use. Partnership between the G8, developing countries, the private sector and civil society organisations will be key to unlocking solutions. We are delighted that President Kikwete and the Ministers for Lands and Energy will participate.
In closing, I would like to say how much we value Tanzania’s role and the president’s personal leadership in promoting peace and stability in the wider region. This evening, I’m sure we are all very conscious that Nelson Mandela – a towering figure in human history in uniting a divided nation is in a serious condition in hospital. I would like to pay him a special tribute and wish him a speedy recovery.
Finally, I should like to express my thanks to our sponsors for their generous support for this evening’s party.
To Vodacom, our lead sponsor.
And Serengeti Breweries for their excellent Johnny Walker and J&B whiskies and Gordons Gin (which all hold the Royal Warrant – a recognition of their being supplied to the Royal Households – one whisky since the 18th century!)
And my thanks to leading companies in the oil and gas sector: to BG Group, Ophir, Songas, Drum Cussac and Afren (a possible new arrival in Tanzania);
My thanks to members of British Business Group;
And to CMC Automobiles (Land Rover’s representatives in Tanzania) whose display shows the development of the Range Rover.
Do take a closer look at the companies’ stands and displays around the gardens.
Thank you. Asanteni kwa kunisikiliza.