Prime Minister Stephen Harper hosts Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete on Parliament Hill this afternoon. It’s not the first time the two men have met. In fact, their personal relationship goes back to 2007, when Harper made his first trip to the African continent as Prime Minister. Harper was in Africa then to attend the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kampala, Uganda. I was part of the press contingent that travelled with Harper to cover that meeting.
After CHOGM ended, Harper headed east to Tanzania to meet Kikwete in the Tanzanian capital of Dar Es Salaam on the shores of the Indian Ocean. We only spent an afternoon there. During his trip Harper and Kikwete visited a school where mobs of young children, many waving Canadian flags, greeted Harper like he was a rock star. (And I don’t think it was because of Harper, rather they seemed excited to be greeting a Canadian Prime Minister and head of G8 state). After the school ceremony, we moved to Kikwete’s official residence, The White House in Dar Es Salaam, where the two men held a joint press conference.
Since then, the two men have met at other international fora to work together on development issues. Some background, from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs:
“In follow-up to the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, launched at the 2010 G8 Summit hosted by Canada, Prime Minister Harper and President Kikwete were invited by the United Nations Secretary-General to co-chair the UN Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health. The result of the Commission was a report, “Keeping Promises, Measuring Results”, that was officially launched at the UN Secretary General’sEvery Woman, Every Child high-level event attended by Prime Minister Harper and President Kikwete in September 2011. Prime Minister Harper and President Kikwete also both participated in the Camp David G8 Summit in May 2012 which launched the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.
This will be Kikwete’s first official visit to Canada though he has been here before as president in an unofficial capacity and was here several times before that when he was a minister in the Tanzanian government.
Here’s some more pix I snapped from that 2007 afternoon in Dar Es Salaam:
Categories: Foreign Affairs