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The former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa, has congratulated the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on his election to the highest office of the land, and has urged him and the country to continue on the path of democracy, and continue being the ‘star of Africa’.

Benjamin Mkapa made this known on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, when he paid a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo at the Presidency, on his way to deliver a lecture at the University of Development Studies, in Tamale.

“The last time we met, you were a prospective candidate, but you have finally made it. More importantly, you have made it in a peaceful, serene election; the results were unquestionable, which places you in a position of authority to lead your country,” the former Tanzanian president said.

He also congratulated Ghanaians for the seriousness with which they undertook the civic responsibility of electing their leaders, and thanked “Ghana for the example they are showing to the people of Africa. Continue, therefore, to be a shining example to the people of Africa.”

Benjamin Mkapa noted that current Tanzanian President, John Magafuli, has put industrialization and the addition of value to raw materials as his major focus. Additionally, “agricultural development is a major preoccupation of his. I have learnt that agricultural development is a major preoccupation of yours, and I hope that you succeed.”

On his part, President Akufo-Addo thanked the former President for the gesture of his visit, and for the collection of autographed books given to him in 2014, during his time as presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party.

President Akufo-Addo told Benjamin Mkapa that he had the privilege of meeting the new President of Tanzania at this year’s AU summit in Addis Ababa “and discovered that we had very similar programmes. It is good for all of us that we have woken up to the realization that there is no future for us in being exporters of raw materials.”

He continued, “If we are going to give jobs to our people, we can only do so in a modern, industrialised economy. So, that is very much the focus of what we are doing here in Ghana. We have a very ambitious programme. We have committed ourselves to establishing small and medium scale industries in each of the districts in our country over the next four years.”

On agricultural development, the President told Benjamin Mkapa about the “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme, launched in Goaso a week ago, which, he explained, will affect the lives of 200,000 farmers in the first year, with some 2.5 million farmers benefitting at the end of 4 years.

“We are living in a country that has everything. We have the land, and, yet, we find ourselves importing plantain from Cote d’Ivoire and tomatoes from Cote d’Ivoire. We are saying to ourselves that, within the next 24 months, all these things will be a thing of the past,” he said.

In concluding, President Akufo-Addo stated that “we continue to wish that Tanzania, like Ghana, continues down the path of orderly development, and that we will see countries who have living Presidents like you who are still contributing to the lives of their people, once they are out of office. It is an inspiration for the rest of the continent, and it is an inspiration that people do not have to hang onto power for 30 to 40 years to be relevant.”