Tanzania and the United States have a history of strong bilateral relations, having a long-term partnership. The US has been heavily involved in the country since independence, supporting its economic growth and funneling large amounts of aid into various sectors and development projects.
Post-independence, aid was primarily focused on education and infrastructure building, especially for the transportation of food and water in rural areas. Acts like the US Foreign Assistance Act of 1973 refocused aid to improve the lives of the poorest majority within Tanzania. The Cold War limited the two countries coordination and collaboration, as attentions focused elsewhere, but relations remained cordial. Cooperation was renewed following al-Qaeda’s bombing of the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam. When Obama and Bush jointly visited Tanzania back in 2013, a brief memorial was held to remember the people who had died in the bombing.
The United States has been particularly dedicated to providing aid to help combat various health problems within the country. The signing of PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) in 2003 by Bush, which was further strengthened by Obama, is a commitment to help combat the AIDS epidemic. The US committed $52 billion to bilateral HIV//AIDS programs as wealth as other programs through the year 2013. Tanzania is one of the US’s bilateral partners in a plan that was (at the time) recognized as the “largest international health commitment ever by any nation dedicated to a single disease” (Global Security).
The Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact with Tanzania is another far reaching agreement between the US and Tanzania to help improve the economy and to support development within the country. The five year compact designated $698 million of aid that would benefit Tanzania through investment in the transport, energy, and water sector. Tanzania also contributed nearly $132 million to help complete projects that exceeded budgets, reinforcing the bilateral partnership of the compact. The compact has significantly helped to improve critical transport, water, energy, and infrastructure needs in Tanzania.
Obama has continued to support strong diplomatic relations between the US and Tanzania. Former President Kikwete, who served from 2005 to 2015, was especially supportive of fostering US-Tanzanian relations. The US has helped improve trade relations, both within Tanzania and regionally, in a multilateral partnership. Other recent partnerships, include the executive order signed by Obama to help combat wildlife trafficking and poaching in Africa. Tanzania’s extensive wildlife reserves are often the target of poachers, and the order provides $10 million to help train and assist Tanzanian authorities to prevent illegal poaching and sales on the black market.
Tanzanian sectors continue to receive extensive aid from the US; the oil and gas industries, agriculture sector, and health and infrastructure sectors have all experienced economic growth. Although China and the US do compete for involvement in economic development and investments, they have both managed thus far to maintain relations with Tanzania and complement each other.
The diplomatic relationship between the US and Tanzania are founded on a deep mutual respect, understanding, and mutually aligned principles that are dedicated to improving the economic growth of Tanzania and reducing poverty. Furthermore, Tanzania is equally committed to deepening cooperation with the US and improving bilateral relations to promote trade, build infrastructure and strengthen the transportation sector, and to continue to attract large amounts of foreign aid and investment. Since independence, the two countries have maintained a surprisingly close and mutually agreeable relationship that has helped foster the growth and development of Tanzania.
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