First female American V.P. Kamala Harris congratulates Tanzania’s Samia Suluhu Hassan


American Vice President Kamala Harris (left) and Tanzania's President Samia Suluhu (right). PHOTOS | COURTESY
American Vice President Kamala Harris (left) and Tanzania's President Samia Suluhu (right). PHOTOS | COURTESY

In Summary

  • Hassan, who had been vice president since 2015, on Friday urged the country to unite and avoid pointing fingers after the death of Magufuli.
  • Wearing a red hijab, she took her oath of office on the Koran in a ceremony at State House in Dar es Salaam.
  • She is the first female head of state in the country of 58 million.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Saturday congratulated Tanzania’s new president Samia Suluhu Hassan, the first woman to hold that office.

She said the United States is ready to strengthen ties between the two countries.

“Sending best wishes to @SuluhuSamia following her swearing in as Tanzania’s new President – the first woman to hold the office. The United States stands ready to work with you to strengthen relations between our countries,” she wrote.

Harris, the first woman and first person of color to serve as U.S. vice president, made the comment in a posting on Twitter.

Hassan, who had been vice president since 2015, on Friday urged the country to unite and avoid pointing fingers after the death of John Magufuli, her COVID-19 sceptic predecessor.

Wearing a red hijab, she took her oath of office on the Koran in a ceremony at State House in the capital Dar es Salaam.

She is the first female head of state in the country of 58 million.

Vice president since 2015, Hassan gave a brief and sombre address after she was sworn in, addressing a heavily male crowd that included two former presidents and uniformed officers.

“This is a time to bury our differences, and be one as a nation,” she said. “This is not a time for finger pointing, but it is a time to hold hands and move forward together.”

The remarks appeared aimed at dispelling a national mood of uncertainty that developed after Magufuli, criticised by opponents as a divisive and authoritarian figure, disappeared from public view for 18 days before his death was announced.

His absence from national life drew speculation he was critically ill with COVID-19. Magufuli died of heart disease, Hassan said when announcing his death on Wednesday.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office is leading U.S. efforts to forge a new trade and investment partnership with the East African Community (EAC), a regional organization that includes Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Total trade between the two countries was $462 million in 2019.

U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Tanzania was $1.5 billion in 2019, a 5.2% increase from 2018, according to U.S. government data.

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