Land of Opportunity

Data from the Tanzania Investment Centre has shown that in the past few months from March to June, the country has secured 92 major investments worth $2,6 billion.

Tanzania is open for business. That was the overarching message from the country’s Minister of Industry and Trade during a recent webinar titled Tanzania: Take-Two I Through the Eyes of the Government.

Co-hosted by Shemane Amin, partner at ALN Tanzania, and financial experts Lawrence Mafuru and Ivan Tarimo, co-founders and managing partners at Bankable, Hon. Minister Professor Kitila Mkumbo outlined bold plans that the government would be focusing on over the next five years.

As the head of Industry and Trade in President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s cabinet, Mkumbo’s role is to oversee the development and implementation of the industrialisation and trade policies in Tanzania.

With development at the core of the economic agenda and the nexus between the advancement in industry and the promotion of trade, Mkumbo said there were multiple opportunities for the private sector to do business and invest in the East African country. Among others, he listed clothing, edible oil, leather and the spice industries as areas that offered trading opportunities for foreign and domestic investment.

“Essentially there is an opportunity to invest in the manufacturing sector and any other productive sectors. We need to push up the production levels so that we are able to meet markets. There is a huge opportunity to invest in the country,” said Mkumbo.

He said the political atmosphere and positive message that the government has been disseminating has made Tanzania more conducive for business.

Asked by Amin what the priority areas for investment by the government were, and whether he foresaw healthy competition between the government and private sector, Mkumbo said their roles were distinct.

The government would continue with investment into roads, sea transport and water and energy projects but there was opportunity for the private sector through the Public-Private Partnership initiative, he said. The government would provide financing through loans or equity, but the undertaking of projects would require the support of the private sector.

Other topics of discussions centred on ensuring domestic players were not just commentators but part of the growth story, easing the tax burden, land ownership for investors and curbing illicit trade.

Mafuru said the government’s message has been consistent with having private sector-led growth, and, “We are seeing a lot more vigour and action-oriented initiatives that would demonstrate that”.

Tarimo said the government’s vision and plan was ambitious, hinged on competitiveness, opening up the economy and fostering industrialisation that ultimately was for human development.

Commenting on the investment climate, Amin said, “We have seen bold leadership, which is focused on steadily steering the country. While there are many themes one can pick to describe the last few months, one of the most salient and consistent is increased transparency. Encouraging the free flow of information has and will continue to play a big role in the success of the country, particularly from an investor perspective. It forms the backbone of investment decisions and meaningful stakeholder engagements.”

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This article was written and first published by Africa Legal

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