UPDATE : 2019.7.24 WED 15:18
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Tanzania appoints Madam Matilda Swilla Masuka as resident ambassador to Korea

The government of the United Republic of Tanzania has recently appointed her ambassador to Korea, namely Madam Matilda Swilla Masuka and The Korea Post Correspondent Kalangari Rwehehumbiza interviewed the new ambassador. Previously all diplomatic activities were handled by the Tanzanian ambassador in Tokyo, Japan. Details of the interview follow.—Ed.

Question: Given the experience, you have in Asian countries, what should be expected of you in this new post?
As you might have been aware, I worked in China for the past ten years where I accumulated enormous experience in the diverse spectrum. During my time in the country, I witnessed China elevated to the fastest growing economy and the second biggest economy in the world, just behind the United States. Being responsible for Investment and Trade Desk, it was a unique opportunity for me to have such an on the ground experience, massive exposure, and outstanding knowledge sharing with multifaceted experts. I take my new post in Korea to be yet another blessed opportunity for me to learn more, and share the experience gained to benefit our two countries and the people.

Holding flowers (fourth from left) is the new Tanzanian ambassador to Korea who was met by The Korea Post Correspondent Kalangari Rwehumbiza (third from left). The others are , from left, Miss Debora and Miss Katondo (representatives of Tanzanians) and on the right-hand side are Mr. Othman (representative) and Mr. John Kambona (a delegate from Tanzanian Embassy Japan).

Q: Tanzania and Korea have different languages and culture; don’t you think this will be a problem for the two sides in achieving common goals?
No, I do not think differences in languages should be a problem. On the contrary, I believe this can be used to our benefit, in fact, when you do not know your partner’s language you make efforts to learn it so as to be able to communicate. I have seen a good number of Tanzanian youth taking the interest in learning the Korean language, starting from the University of Dodoma and likewise, we have seen various groups of volunteers from Korea coming to our country, Tanzania, who also learn our local language, Kiswahili. These exchanges bring our two sides even closer. So, the language incompatibility should be taken as a complementary factor for the two sides to explore and appreciate each side’s culture and hence fostering further the ties between our two countries and the people. Furthermore, we should remember that Tanzania and Korea have had stellar, ever-growing brotherly relations for more than 25 years (Since 1992 when the Republic of Korea opened an Embassy in Tanzania despite the language challenges we are talking about.

The new ambassador of Tanzania (right) with her family members.

Q: How do you envision the prospects South Korean’s investment, Trade, Economy and other Development aspects in the Republic of Tanzania?
In Tanzania, we have a lot of investment opportunities to foreigners. We still have the task to promote ourselves in different areas. First and foremost we will brand ourselves in various platforms so that to attract South Korea investors in agriculture, infrastructures and various constructions as well as Information Technology understanding that Korea is more advanced in technology. For example, South Korea has already agreed with the Republic of Tanzania for the construction of Master Peace Bridge whereby the project will start from December this year.
But again the Korea Export-Import Bank has committed more than $500 million of Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) and has successfully completed the Malagarasi bridge construction, the vocational training center construction, Dodoma clean water supply system, and the Kilimanjaro-Arusha transmission line.
Currently, the Korea Ex-Im Bank is working on the implementation of the new Selander bridge construction project in Dar es Salaam, the construction of Data Centers for the National ID system project, the MUHAS Medical Center project in Mlonganzila, and the Zanzibar irrigation infrastructure project.
These projects are the result of collaborative efforts, and also symbolize the remarkable development of the close cooperative relations between our two countries. The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) is also strengthening its cooperation with Tanzania in the fields of health, education, and water development. Currently, there are around 50 KOICA volunteers working in different areas in Tanzania as teachers, professors, agricultural experts, Taekwondo instructors, etc.
In addition, Koreans serve Tanzania through voluntary activities in the private sector. There are around 20 Korean NGOs participating in various humanitarian assistance projects in Tanzania, ranging from enabling refugees in Kigoma to become economically independent to developing water wells in primary and secondary schools in rural areas. Meanwhile, the Republic of Korea strives to promote friendly and cooperative relations with other countries.

The new Tanzania Ambassador to the Republic of South Korea Mrs. Matilda Swilla Masuka

Q: What strategies will you use to promote Tanzania's Tourism Destinations to the Republic of South Korea?
It is an undisputed fact that Tanzania is one of the most endowed countries in terms of Tourism Attractions, but as a country, we cannot dwell on that obvious fact only. We need to do more in making these amazing destinations known to the world. We plan to use every availed platform in the Republic of Korea to brand our country in that aspect so as to attract more tourists and investments in this industry. We will be proactive, organizing Road Shows, Advertising in Papers and Media, and actively participating in Travel/ Tourism Fairs. Just to mention a few, Tanzania has the following major Destinations: We are the home to the highest Mountain in Africa and freestanding tallest mountain in the world, the Kilimanjaro Mt.; the Zanzibar Island; more than 17 National Parks with uniqueness of natural forest and wildlife, such as Ngorongoro Crater, the mighty Serengeti (with exceptional animal migration), Manyara (Tree climbing lions), Selous, etc.

Q: The last question was what is your special message to Tanzania community In the Republic of Korea?
A: I believe in unity; therefore, I urge my fellow Tanzanians to keep working together in promoting our country’s opportunities in every aspect availed. We have a saying in our culture that conforms to this, “If you want to go faster go alone, but if you want to go far stay in the group”. Our aim is to reach far, thus we need to work as a team to put a positive mark in this beautiful country. Learning the language and respecting culture could be instrumental in fostering our bilateral cooperation.

Max Kang  edt@koreapost.com

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