DAR ES SALAAM, April 30 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Tuesday made it clear that there was no hostility between Tanzania and Malawi, saying the two countries remained as best neighbors as ever.
"During my administration Tanzania and Malawi will always remain best neighboring friends," Magufuli told a public rally broadcast live by state-owned Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) in the southern highlands district of Kyela on the shore of Lake Nyasa in Mbeya region.
He said African countries should unite in their development undertakings and he lashed out at Western countries that were bent on ensuring that the continent was in a shambles.
"We should not allow Western countries (to) derail African countries' efforts toward making the continent prosperous," Magufuli told the rally on his sixth day of his eight-day official visit to the region.
Magufuli made the remarks against the background of reports that Tanzania and Malawi were mired in a long-standing conflict over boundaries on Lake Nyasa.
The neighboring countries have clashed over their border on the lake since independence and reports that the lake had vast oil and gas reserves has reignited the ongoing dispute over the boundaries on Lake Nyasa.
Tanzania's map showed that the east African country owns part of the Lake Nyasa while Malawi's argument was that all the waters between Malawi and Tanzania were theirs.
Last week, the Tanzanian and Malawian leaders directed relevant ministers to urgently sort out challenges that were slowing down trade between the two countries.
"Trade barriers between the two countries should be urgently addressed for the development of people in the countries," said President Magufuli and his Malawian counterpart, Peter Mutharika.
A statement by the Directorate of Presidential Communication said the two leaders raised concerns over trade barriers between the two countries at the end of talks held at the Malawian State House in Lilongwe.
Magufuli was in Malawi for a two-day state visit at the invitation of President Mutharika.
The statement said the leaders had directed the ministers to accelerate construction of a one-stop border post at Kasumulu on the two countries' border post to facilitate trade between the neighbors.
In addition, said the statement, the leaders agreed to look for low interest loans for the development of the Songwe River Basin which was billed to generate 180 megawatts for industrial and domestic use.
Addressing a joint news conference, Magufuli said trade between Tanzania and Malawi was still low where 2018 records indicated a trade volume amounting to a paltry 64 million U.S. dollars.