January Makamba emphasized the importance of African sovereignty and the right to choose international partners without pressure © RT / RT

Cooperation with Africa needs to be built on mutual respect and mutual benefits, Tanzanian Foreign Minister January Makamba has said in an exclusive interview with RT.

He criticized the former colonial powers and Western nations for their attempts to reassert influence in Africa. Former colonial states, such as France, are now “being kicked out” of places like Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso, Makamba said.

The foreign minister believes that “European countries, and particularly America, right now, are trying to make a last second dash into Africa.”

He said there was determination among African leaders and nations to assert their independence and sovereignty, and highlighted the importance of being able to freely select partners for development projects without external pressure.

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“We [Africans] find it offensive to be asked to choose this one particular partner or another,” he said, adding that each African nation and the continent as a whole must be able to pursue their interests independently.

Referring to political empowerment in Africa, Makamba said true progress would come through self-reliance and unity among the countries of the continent.

“It’s not just about projects, development, mining. It’s also about political empowerment, and this we can only do ourselves, and we can only do it with unity,” he said.

He also noted that Africa Day, which is celebrated around the world on May 25 each year and marks the establishment of the African Union, “is significant because Africa Day is about unity.”

Meanwhile, Tanzania’s ambassador to Russia, Fredrick Ibrahim Kibuta, said Tanzania is interested in expanding trade and economic cooperation with Moscow, especially in agriculture and fertilizers, as well as the mining sector, oil and gas, IT, energy, and tourism.