Tanzanian authorities have opened talks with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi for possibilities of creating a new economic and trade bloc.
This has emerged following the sidelining of Tanzania and Burundi by the other three member states of the East African regional bloc, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.
Tanzania’s minister for East Africa Cooperation Samuel Sitta Wednesday told parliament in Dodoma that Tanzania has been taking “a plan B”.
“Economically it is sensible to work with DRC now because the country holds immense economic potential in the region,” Sitta said.
Sitta said such other plans included the construction of a railway line from Uvinza in Kigoma Region to Msongati in order to connect the country with DRC.
Tanzania also looked at Burundi because it was cost-effective for the country’s businessmen to use Dar es Salaam port instead of Mombasa port, he said.
In the past few months, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda have opted to forge ahead with a regional integration agenda in the absence of Tanzania and Burundi.
The three partners have reached a point of debating a protocol to speed up the formation of a political federation.
Some members of Tanzanian parliament on Tuesday pressured the government to either withdraw from EAC or talk with other neighbouring countries to establish another regional grouping or halt Tanzania engagement in the regional activities.