STATEMENT BY H. E. SAMIA SULUHU HASSAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA TO THE UNITED NATIONS AT THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE SEVENTY SIXTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, NEW YORK – 23RD SEPTEMBER 2021
Your Excellency Abdulla Shahid, President of the General
Your Excellency António Gutteres, Secretary General of the
Excellencies Heads of State and Government;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Let me commence by joining previous speakers in applauding
you, Mr. President, for being elected to preside over the 76th
Session of this august Assembly and for the exemplary manner
in which you have been presiding over this Session. I also
commend you for the ably manner in which you mastered to
make possible for us to meet physically despite unprecedented
circumstances brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The holding of a physical general debate this year albeit with
some limitations, demonstrates again that humanity and
multilateralism cannot and should not succumb to the virus.
And thus where there is a will, there is always a way.
This spirit is what we need going forward. It is why I support
and subscribe to the theme of this 76th session that call all of us
to “build resilience through hope to recover from COVID 19,
rebuild sustainability, respond to the needs of the planet,
respect the lives of people, and revitalize the United Nations”.
As this is my maiden speech at the United Nations General
Assembly, Allow me on behalf of the people and the
Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, to thank all
members of the United Nations for your condolence messages
extended to our nation following the untimely passing of our
late President, Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, on 17 March, 2021.
May his soul continue to rest in eternal peace.
We remain indebted to you for the thoughtful and comforting
messages which helped us to prevail over that unprecedented
test to our nationhood. It is in the same vein that I thank the
outgoing President of the 75th Session for dedicating a slot on
the 59th Plenary meeting of the General Assembly, on the 16th of
April 2021 to pay tribute to our beloved late President Dr.
Magufuli. Indeed this was a gesture of solidarity and
It is not by sheer coincidence that I chose to attend the United
Nations General Assembly as my first trip outside Africa, since
I took the office. I did so, out of my deep sense of conviction and
faith in multilateralism in solving multitude of challenges that
our world face today.
I am here to assure you that under my stewardship Tanzania
will remain a formidable member of the United Nations and a
dependable supporter of multilateralism. We will keep our
arms open to those who embrace us and engage with us. We
will continue to be the Tanzania that you have known and relied
on. A Tanzania that peacefully and respectfully co-existed and
cooperated with all countries, big or small, mighty or weak,
rich, or poor, to make this world, our world, a better place for all of us.
COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us how vulnerable we are
as individual countries regardless of our size, wealth, or
geography. As we meet here today, we have less than a decade
ahead to meet our collective commitment to achieve the
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I note with great regret
that according to the Sustainable Development Goals Report
2020, right now, the world is not on track to achieve the 2030
Agenda mainly due to the adverse impact of COVID-19.
The Report further shows that in some areas, this pandemic has
even reversed the progress that was already achieved years
back. For instance, it is expected that around 71 million people
who got out of extreme poverty will be pushed back into that
situation because of this pandemic. What is depressing is the
fact that these impacts are not felt evenly. We, in the developing
world are the most affected. It is therefore imperative that
concerted efforts are undertaken to address this devastating
Developing nations must be assisted in addressing socioeconomic
impact of the COVID-19. On this note, we are
thankful to multilateral financial institutions like the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) for their efforts in saving
many economies from collapsing. These kinds of interventions
are important. We cannot afford to take refuge on the onset of
COVID-19 as an excuse for not making sufficient progress on
achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Tanzania has not been spared by COVID-19. After the onset of
the pandemic, we in Tanzania, and I believe in many other
developing countries, were stuck in the twilight of protecting
lives and protecting livelihoods. Measures advocated by the
World Health Organization (WHO) were geared towards
protecting lives. However, in an economy like Tanzania’s
consisting of a big proportion of people living on subsistence
economy, whom we need to keep them afloat, my country
therefore adopted all necessary measures to curb the spread of
COVID-19, including joining the COVAX facility, to ensure that
Tanzanians gain access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccination campaign has started in July this year with the
most vulnerable communities and later on other age groupings.
Globally, when COVID-19 vaccines were being developed,
some of us were hopeful that this would mean something good
to all of humanity. Nevertheless, we have come to learn that, the
virus is moving faster than the global production and
distribution of vaccines, as the vast majority of vaccines have
been administered in high and upper-middle-income countries.
With the current pace, it is less likely that we will meet the
WHO’s threshold of vaccinating at least 40 percent of people in
every country by the end of 2021, and at least 70 percent by the
first half of 2022.
The level of vaccine inequity that we see is appalling. It is truly
disheartening to see that whilst most of our countries have
inoculated less than 2% of our populace and thus, seek for more
vaccines for our people, other countries are about to roll out the
third dose, calling it “booster vaccine”. We tend to forget that
nobody is safe until everyone is safe. It is indispensable that
countries with surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses share them
with other countries. On another note, it is our humble request
that patent rights on COVID-19 vaccines should be waived for
developing countries so that they can afford to produce the
vaccines. This is not only a necessary move to end this
pandemic but also the right thing to do in order to save
On economic fronts, the United Republic of Tanzania like other
countries has not been spared by the effects of the COVID-19.
Before the pandemic, our economy was growing at the steady
rate of 6.9 percent compared to current growth rate estimated
at 5.4 percent. We are now embarking on reviving the tourism
sector which was badly affected because of travel restrictions
put in many countries as means to curb the spread of COVID19.
While slowly trying to revive most of economic activities
suffocated by the pandemic, the Government continues to work
hard to improve the business environment and attract more
investment. Aware of the nexus between economic growth and
governance, we managed to maintain peace and political
stability, with a vibrant democracy and institutionalized good
governance practises, upholding rule of law and human rights.
I wish to take note of the Secretary General’s Report on “Our
Common Agenda” which raises key issue of our common
concern such as gender equality, climate change and youth
On gender equality, COVID-19 is threatening to roll back the
gains that we have made. As the first female President in the
history of my country, the burden of expectation to deliver
gender equality is heavier on my shoulder.
It is for this reasons that I commend the initiative by the UNWomen,
France, and Mexico to organize the Generation
Equality Forum that took place in Paris in June this year,
whereby my country volunteered to champion for Women’s
Economic Rights and Justice.
Aware that being passionate about gender equality is not
sufficient, my government is reviewing policy and legal
frameworks in order to come up with actionable and
measurable plans to ensure economic empowerment of women
but also other aspects pertaining to gender equality and gender
We are also working on designing an implementation gender responsive
macro-economic plans, budget reforms and
stimulus packages with the objective of reducing the number of
women and girls’ living in poverty.
The challenges of climate change are really affecting
livelihoods, peace and security and forceful displacement of our
people. Tanzania government spends 2 to 3 percent of GDP to
mitigate and build resilience of communities, and this is a lot in
a country which is still grappling with poverty coupled with
emergency of the COVID19 pandemic. The pandemic has
compromised our capacity to respond to harmful impact of
climate change. Therefore, our actions today determine the
future of our planet in terms of climate change. In this regard, I
call for transparent modality for financial disbursement and
emphasize that developed countries should fulfill their
commitment to contribute USD 100 billion annually by 2025 so
as to facilitate the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
In concluding my remarks, I wish to echo my country’s
commitment in pursuing the principles of multilateralism as
enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. I urge other
nations to continue supporting this august institution. The
onset of COVID-19 has given to all of us a lesson that we are
deeply intertwined, and that unilateralism will not get us
anywhere when it comes to challenges that transcends our
A wise person once said, and I quote, “Alone, one will go fast,
but together we will go far”. Multilateralism must always
I thank you all for your kind attention!