Finland's Deputy Minister for Development Policy, Ms. Elina Kalkku, visited Tanzania to discuss the cooperation between the two countries. Finland and Tanzania share long-standing friendly relations and partnership since the early 1960's.
Deputy Minister met with key partners at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, the TRA as well as international development partners, civil society and private sector representatives.
While meeting with Tanzanian and international counterparts who work with women's and girls' right, Deputy Minister Kalkku highlighted the importance of women's participation in decision-making. It helps enhance the rights and status of women and girls and also contributes to faster economic and social development. Finland cooperates closely with the UN Women country office, which makes a significant contribution to support girls and women in Tanzania. She commended Tanzanian authorities and civil society for their work. She also visited Gender Desk at the Shitakishari Police Station which is a concrete example of gender responsive services.
The Deputy Minister discussed the important role of an active civil society in promoting development and well-being in Finland and Tanzania. She shared experiences about how human rights, equality and freedom of expression have all played a key role in Finland's own economic and social development. Finland emphasizes that human rights are universal and based on international law and conventions.
Forestry is another priority area of cooperation between Finland and Tanzania. The Deputy Minister noted how Finland's early industrialization was based on forest industries, and that sustainable management and use of vast forest resources can contribute significantly to the development of Tanzania, as well as tackle climate change. The Private Forestry Program supported by Finland has provided employment and well-being for the growing population in rural areas. Private sector adds value and creates jobs and revenue, and could increase forestry sector contribution to the industrialization drive of Tanzania, Ms. Kalkku noted.
In meeting with TRA Commissioner General Charles Kichere, the Deputy Minister discussed bilateral cooperation in fiscal management. Finland is encouraged by the commitment of Tanzania to enhance domestic resource mobilization and contain corruption. She shared experiences of predictable and reliable and broad based tax system as a foundation for Nordic welfare society in Finland. Finland supports the TRA Corporate Plan 5 including technical assistance through the Finnish Tax Authority.
In her meetings, Ms. Kalkku also emphasized the importance of a predictable business and investment environment. Increased private sector participation could enhance the resources for economic and social development. Transparency, sharing new ideas and innovations are also needed for economic growth, jobs and development.