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President Samia Hassan is Mending Frayed Relations with the West

When Tanzania’s president assumed office last year after her predecessor died suddenly of suspected COVID-19, it was seen as the beginning of a new era. Samia Suluhu Hassan, the East African state’s first female president, immediately sought to distance herself from her old boss when she told parliament to “stop comparing me with [John] Magufuli”. Hassan’s trip to the US in April, her second in less than a year, was viewed by her supporters as proof that Tanzania is charting a new course. Her rapid diplomacy is being interpreted as an intent to woo foreign investors back to Tanzania after hostile domestic policies and rhetoric stymied foreign domestic investment for years. Hassan’s trip to the US reportedly garnered $1bn in investment from various American companies, indicating that foreign investors see positive changes in Tanzania. It was reported that the US firms were interested in sectors ranging from tourism to energy. During the same trip, she visited New York and Los Angeles to launch the premiere of a new state-backed documentary, Tanzania: The Royal Tour, which promotes tourism in the East African country. The film shows Hassan visiting Tanzania’s popular tourist destinations such as Mount Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar in a bid to boost tourism after COVID.