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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Tanzania Foreign Affairs Ministry opens new embassy in Israel   

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Augustine Mahiga, on Wednesday commissioned the country’s new embassy in Israel.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation on Wednesday said Mahiga urged the Israeli government to also open its embassy in Tanzania.

The opening of the new embassy in Tel Aviv followed the recent visit to Tanzania by Israelis Minister for Justice,  Ayelet Shaked, who led a high ranking delegation of Israeli businessmen.

Speaking shortly after he had inaugurated the new office, Mahiga described Israel as a role model country to Tanzania.

“Despite facing multiple challenges with some of its neighboring countries, Israel has made major development strides in various sectors,” said Mahiga in the statement.

The minister mentioned the sectors as agriculture, industries, health, information and communication technology, defense and security, water, conservation and energy.

On defense and security, Mahiga said Tanzanians would never forget Israel over the way it assisted the country in establishing the National Service, whose contribution towards nation building and enhancing unity and security in Tanzania was well documented.

The minister said after the Swahili language, the National Service was the second mechanism that helped a lot in bringing together over 120 tribes in Tanzania that today lived as one community.

The statement added that the inauguration of the Tanzania embassy was attended by various dignitaries including Ayelet Shaked, diplomats and Tanzanians living in Israel.

Last month, the government of Israel pledged to help transform Tanzania’s ailing agriculture sector and turn the country into Africa’s breadbasket.

The pledge was made by Shaked on a visit to the east African nation.

She also pledged to cement cooperation in a number of other areas, including security, pharmaceuticals and information, communication and technology (ICT).

Ties between Tanzania and Israel, severed in the 1970s, were reestablished in 1995, but Israel had still been conducting diplomatic services with Tanzania through its office in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Eastern Europe travel agents impressed
by Tanzania’s wealth of tourist attractions

ARUSHA Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Visiting tour and travel agents from Eastern Europe have expressed amazement at Tanzania’s wealth of tourist attractions.

Their remarks raise hopes of a potential influx of visitors from their home countries in the near future as the region becomes a prime target for Tanzania’s latest tourism marketing strategies.

Speaking on Wednesday at the northern Tanzania’s Arusha airport after completing a tour of several national parks in the northern circuit, the agents said they were thrilled by what they had seen in terms of wildlife and the like, and promised to sell the country well upon their return home.

They added that the experience had gone a long way towards dispelling misconceptions that many Eastern Europeans have about Tanzania and Africa in general.

“For most of us, this was nothing short of a lifetime experience...you cannot get such an experience in Europe,” said Maria Mihutescu, a travel agent from Romania.

Mihutescu added that she was happy to have the chance to have up close and personal encounters with a wide variety of wildlife and getting a feel for Tanzania’s diverse culture.

“This is a special country endowed with a lot of natural resources... we will be good ambassadors once we get back home,” she said.

Sharing similar sentiments, the Director of the BCD Travel tour operating company from Ukraine, Volodymyr Voloshyn, singled out the wide range of wildlife and unique vegetation as the main things that place Tanzania among the world’s wealthiest nations in terms of natural resources.

Volodymyr cited, in particular, the annual wildebeest migration in the Serengeti and described the country’s reputation for peace and security as an added advantage and prerequisite for wooing tourists from Eastern Europe.

Hozza Mbura, Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) marketing officer who accompanied the agents throughout their four-day tour of northern Tanzania’s Tarangire and Serengeti national parks plus the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, said the sojourn had been generally successful.

“Eastern Europe is another promising market that we hope to tap from, and that is why we hosted these agents from that part of the world,” Mbura reiterated.

The delegation of travel and tour agents, who are in the country courtesy of TTB and Winglink Travel Limited, are expected to visit the Zanzibar archipelago on a similar, fact-finding mission.

Their countries of origins include Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Ukraine.

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Zanzibar to increase rice production by 30 percent

ARUSHA Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania’s semi-autonomous Zanzibar archipelago is set to increase production of rice by 30 percent in a new drive to reduce importation, a senior official said Tuesday.

Rashid Ali Juma, Zanzibar’s Minister for Agriculture and Natural Resources, revealed this while speaking at the inauguration of a fertilizer manufacturing plant in the Indian Ocean Island.

In this harvesting season, the minister said Zanzibar will increase production by 30 percent, as the country grapples to plug the gap between locally produced rice and the imported one.

“We have a gap of 57,000 tonnes of rice per year, currently we’re producing 23,000 tonnes annually,” the minister said, insisting on the Zanzibar government’s determination to boost paddy cultivation to meet the demand of 80,000 tonnes per year

According to the minister, rice is the Zanzibar’s main staple food with the current demand standing at 61.3 kilograms per person annually.

Juma noted that to increase rice production, farmers should be enabled to practice modern agriculture using advanced techniques, use quality seeds as well as fertilizers.

“The fertilizer plant we have launched today is expected to produce the best fertilizer that will make farmers realize bumper harvests,” he said, noting that the newly introduced plant will increase rice production by 30 percent.

He urged rice farmers to continue using the locally produced fertilizer to boost productivity.

James Flock, director general, of Zanzibar cereals development project said the installed plant has a capacity to produce three tonnes of fertilizers every day.

He said the 1,000 tonnes of fertilizers to be produced annually can be used by rice and vegetable growers in the spice island of Zanzibar.

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Police arrest seven suspected poachers in southern Tanzania

ARUSHA Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian police on Tuesday said they, in collaboration with officers of the anti-poaching unit, have arrested seven suspected poachers in the southern part of the east African nation.

Yahaya Athuman, acting Ruvuma Regional Police Commander, said the suspected poachers were arrested in different areas of Namtumbo District, Ruvuma Region with two of them being caught red-handed with hippos’ meat.

According to Athuman, the suspected poachers believed to have been involving in poaching incidents in Selous Game Reserve, one of the largest faunal reserves of the world, located in the south of Tanzania.

The regional police chief said the anti-poaching operation will continue, and warned people to stop from doing the vice as the law would take its course.

Over the past six years, poaching and the illicit ivory trade have attracted global attention and Tanzania has been slated as one of the worst offenders.

Besides tarnishing the image of the country, elephant poaching has undesirable effects on the ecological, economic and security aspects.

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Tanzania starts trials for HIV preventive treatment

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The government of Tanzania has started trials of pills that can prevent one from contracting HIV, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Faustine Ndugulile, the deputy minister of health, however, said “What we have launched is a preventive medicine, and this is meant for groups of people who are at high risk of contracting HIV. The pills will help such people not to contract HIV. We are also making trials and the drug is not yet available on the market.”

He said the preventive treatment, known medically as Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), has been launched as part of Tanzania’s fourth Health Sector HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan 2017-2022.

The pills are known to prevent HIV infection by 99 percent. They have already been rolled out in some sub-Saharan countries such as South Africa and Kenya.

Ndugulile said the trails were part of Tanzania’s long-term measures to curb HIV/AIDS, adding: “It has also come at a time the country is marking 30 years of the HIV/AIDS Prevention Plan.”

According to statistics by the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS), Tanzania has an estimated 1.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS but only 52 percent of them are aware of their condition.

The disease has mostly affected the youth aged between 14 and 25 years, says TACAIDS. 

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Tanzanian president commends college for
research on rats’ Tuberculosis detection

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Monday commended the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Morogoro region for pioneering its landmark research that enables rats to detect tuberculosis (TB) in children.

The research led by Georgies Mgode is much more successful at detecting TB in children than a commonly used basic microscopy test.

Speaking on his short visit to the university, President Magufuli said: “I commend you for this landmark research that aims at detecting TB in children by using rats.”

The head of state pledged to continue supporting SUA, located 200 kilometers west of the commercial capital Dar es Salaam, to enable it to engage in more research that was beneficial to mankind.

The study, published by the London-based Springer Nature in Pediatric Research this year, shows that when trained rats were given children’s sputum samples to sniff, the animals were able to pinpoint 68 percent cases of TB infections than detected through a standard smear test.

According to Mgode who pioneered the research, current TB detection methods are far from perfect, especially in under-resourced countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia where the disease is prevalent, and where a reasonably cheap smear test is commonly used.

“Problems with this type of test are that the accuracy varies depending on the quality of sputum sample used, and very young children are often unable to provide enough sputum to be analyzed,” said Mgode.

Springer Nature in Pediatric Research said in its publication that previous work pioneered in Tanzania and Mozambique focused on training African giant pouched rats to pick up the scent of molecules released by the TB-causing Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium in sputum.

The training technique is similar to one used to teach rats to detect vapors released by landmine explosives, said the publication, adding:

“In the case of TB, when a rat highlights a possibly infected sample, it is analyzed further using a WHO endorsed concentrated microscopy techniques to confirm a positive diagnosis.”

According to the Ministry of Health, Tanzania is the 15th among 22 countries with a huge number of TB patients.

The statistics indicate that the number of TB patients in the country increased rapidly from 11,000 people in 1984 to 62,000 in 2006.

The statistics show that the regions with the highest number of TB cases is Dar es Salaam with 22.9 percent equivalent to 13,983 people, Mwanza 9.3 percent equivalent to 5,946 people and Shinyanga 6.4 percent equivalent to 4,074 people.

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