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Tanzanian President Hopeful About Nation's Economic Progress


President Kikwete's goal is to move Tanzania from "the list of least developed countries to middle income countries" as quickly as possible

Washington, D.C., August 2, 2007 - Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said yesterday in an exclusive interview with Voice of America's (VOA) Straight Talk Africa program that his overriding goal is to ensure the nation's economic progress.

"My vision for the United Republic of Tanzania is to see our country move from the list of least developed countries to middle income countries as fast as possible." Explaining the objective of increasing the current 6.2 percent growth to 10 percent growth by the year 2010, Mr. Kikwete added that improving the nation's economy "determines all that I do; it determines all that I plan to do."

Among the wide range of topics covered, Mr. Kikwete spoke about undergoing a recent HIV/AIDS test in an effort to promote nationwide testing. He also discussed the feasibility of establishing the East African Political Federation by 2013, the major improvements in secondary school education, and the financial and logistical difficulties encountered by African Union forces in Darfur, Sudan. When asked about the situation in Zimbabwe, Mr. Kikwete said that any solution to the problems in that country would necessarily require the participation of Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe.

The exclusive interview was a joint effort by VOA's English to Africa Service and Tanzanian affiliate station Star TV. Host Shaka Ssali interviewed Mr. Kikwete at the State House in Dodoma, Tanzania, the nation's political capital. The show also featured e-mailed audience questions. "This ambitious co-production was a great benefit to both our stations," commented Gwen Dillard, director of VOA's Africa Division. "It was an honor to work with such a professional organization as Star TV."

Straight Talk Africa is a weekly, one-hour call-in program broadcast live on Wednesdays at 1830 UTC on radio, television and the Internet. The program examines topics of special interest to Africans, including politics, health, social issues and conflict resolution. Visit our website at http://www.voanews.com/english/africa/ for more information on this program and many others offered by VOA's English to Africa Service.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail publicaffairs@voa.gov.

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