The Embassy plays an important role in fostering the strong and close relationship between Ireland and Tanzania.
Over the years, Ireland and Tanzania have developed a strong relationship across a number of areas including politics, trade, religion, education and development assistance.
Diplomatic relations were established between Ireland and Tanzania in 1979. In that year, a development cooperation office was opened in Dar es Salaam when Ireland launched its development programme. The office was upgraded to an Embassy in 2006 when Ireland's first Ambassador to Tanzania was appointed.
In recent years, a number of official outward and inward visits have taken place:
- Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, visited in January 2008, accompanied by the Minister of State, Michael Kitt;
- Minister of State with responsibility for Development, Peter Power, visited in July 2009;
- The Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore, visited Tanzania in June 2011;
- Members of the Audit Committee of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade visited in November 2011;
- Minister of State Costello visited Tanzania in March 2013
- Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion and North-South Co-operation, Sean Sherlock, visited in March 2015;
- The most recent inward visits from Tanzania were undertaken by Prime Minister Pinda in 2009, and the Ministers for Water (Professor Mark James Mwandosya Ngelja) in April 2011.
The Tanzanian Ambassador to Ireland is accredited from London.
Irish missionaries led the early foundation of partnership between the peoples of Tanzania and Ireland. They played an important role in communities, particularly through providing essential health and education services. Missionaries continue to play a role in furthering Tanzania-Ireland relations and more can be learned from Misean Cara and the Irish Missionary Union.
Educational links between Ireland and Tanzania are very strong with a number of Irish Universities engaged in partnerships with Tanzanian third level institutions as part of a Programme of Strategic Cooperation. Long-established links exist between, for example: UCD and the University of Dar Es Salaam; DIT and the Institute of Financial Management, Dar es Salaam; University of Limerick and the Department of Public Administration at the University of Dar es Salaam. In the field of agriculture and food security and nutrition, both UCC and UCD have links with Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro and St Augustine's University in Mwanza respectively.
The first cohort of the University of Dar es Salaam staff undertaking PhDs in University College Dublin, most of whom were funded by the Higher Education Authority - Irish Aid Programme of Strategic Cooperation, passed their VIVAs in 2014. A graduation ceremony was hosted in May by Ambassador Gilsenan at her Official Residence at which Professor Patrick Paul Walsh, Chair of International Development Studies, School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin, presided.
The Embassy manages the Irish Aid Fellowship Programme. Each year, scholarship applications are welcomed from professionals working with the Government of Tanzania or our civil society partners to pursue postgraduate and masters courses in Ireland and Tanzania.
The Embassy also supports the Tanzania-Ireland Alumni Association. This Association is intended to bring together Tanzanians who have attended Irish colleges and universities over the years, including those who have graduated through the Fellowship Programme. It aims to encourage greater networking opportunities, exchange of ideas, and social, economic and business interaction between them and their former colleagues here and in Ireland. Over 200 Tanzanians are registered with the Association. The Association's membership is open to anyone who has studied for more than three months at an institution of higher education in Ireland. Please contact us to learn more about the association and to join.
Drawing on the great history of the Young Scientist Exhibition in Ireland, the most recent opportunity for strengthening the relationship between Tanzania and Ireland has been the launch of Young Scientists Tanzania in 2012. This initiative, developed by Maynooth University with the support of Tanzanian government institutions, and sponsored by the Embassy, aims to promote science amongst young people in Tanzania and encourage them to seek practical solutions to the problems they face in everyday life. Just as in Ireland, the centre-piece of YST is an annual exhibition and competition in which schools and students participate by submitting science projects. This very exciting initiative continues to grow in scale and reach every year.
In 2013, Tanzania was ranked as Ireland's 103rd largest trading partner, with merchandise trade valued at €15.04 million; exports amounted to €14.35 million (an increase of 0.5% on 2012); imports were valued at €716,000 (an increase of 98% on 2012).
With regard to Irish business in Tanzania, ESBI is active in the market, currently implementing a World Bank funded call centre operation for the national electricity supplier, TANESCO. During the period 2008-2013, ESBI managed a multi-million dollar energy project for the US Millennium Challenge Account. ESBI is currently considering further involvements in the sector. A recruitment company established over a decade ago by an Irish investor is prominent in Dar es Salaam. A well-known consultant engineering company (active in the road and water sectors) and a small number of individual investors in the horticulture and tourism sectors are active in Tanzania. Irish citizens and interests also exist in the telecommunications, brewing and eco energy sectors.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Docks Port Training Initiative involved project-based funding for a "TrainForTrade" programme which focused on developing the capacity of port facilities in a number of countries, including Tanzania, through the provision of training and capacity-building for port communities in Asia and Africa. Irish Aid provided €150,000 to the UNCTAD programme in 2011. Irish Aid's contribution complemented a roughly similar amount in cash and pro bono services from Dublin Port Company and contributors of €25,000 from each participating port. In November 2012, as part of the second cycle of UNCTAD's TrainForTrade Port Training Programme in Tanzania, 16 candidates (including 5 women) were awarded UNCTAD's Modern Port Management Certificate at a conferral ceremony hosted by Ambassador Gilsenan in Dar es Salaam.
The Government of Ireland provides development assistance to Tanzania. The development cooperation programme was launched in 1979 when the Development Cooperation Office in Dar es Salaam was opened. Ireland's current programme in Tanzania aims to reduce poverty and vulnerability.