Dar es Salaam. Tanzania’s administrative regions are increasingly devising new strategies to attract investors and increase their contribution to the national economy.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that Dar es Salaam remains the most attractive region for investments, with a total of 109 projects registered by the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) in 2018.
Coast Region - which is next-door to Dar es Salaam - was able to register a total of 37 projects in 2018.
Arusha Region - which sits on a number of tourist attractions - came third with a total of nine projects in 2018 while Kilimanjaro Region tied with Morogoro Region in fourth position with eight projects each.
In the fifth slot was Mwanza Region, which is the second largest contributor to Tanzania’s gross domestic product. It registered seven projects in 2018. Mbeya, along with Songwe and Manyara Regions, attracted only a single project each in 2018.
Alarmed with the official statistics, authorities in Songwe are devising strategies to capitalise on the region’s closeness to the landlocked countries of Zambia and Malawi to attract both local and foreign investments and boost the region’s standing.
A number of regions are currently organising regional investment forums, with most recent ones having been conducted in Ruvuma, Simiyu and Songwe.
Speaking at the Songwe Investment Forum yesterday, the Songwe Regional Commissioner, Brigadier General Nicodemus Mwangela, said the region deserves to be a business and investments hub if the existing opportunities and geographical advantages are anything to go by.
According to him, about 70 percent of goods in transit that passing through the Dar es Salaam port moves through Songwe.
“The region is a gateway to Malawi, Zambia and DRC. This makes it easy for one to grab an export market if one produces the goods here. We want a dry-port and storage facilities to facilitate business with neighbouring countries,” he said.
The region is marketing 928,000 hectares of land for new investments in agriculture, livestock, real estate, education and manufacturing. It also claims good transport, power, water and telecommunications infrastructure.
The minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Investment), Ms Angellah Kairuki, hailed the region for holding the forum, saying Songwe has everything that a prospective investor, targeting the wider Southern African Development Community (Sadc) market, could want.
She hailed the authorities in Songwe for preparing an investment guide, and urged financial institutions to help investors who come knocking on their doors for investment funds.
Ms Kairuki promised that the government would quickly resolve a trade barrier hurdle whereby trucks from Tanzania are barred from moving through Zambia to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“The relevant ministers from Tanzania and Zambia are already holding talks on this, and we are hopeful that they will resolve the problem soon,” she said.
Ms Kairuki also said the government is reviewing the 1996 National Investment Promotion Policy (NIPP) and the 1997 Tanzania Investment Act to improve the business environment.
It was also finalising enactment of a Business Facilitation Act that would hasten the pace of implementation for the Blueprint for the improvement of the business climate which the cabinet adopted in 2018.
The Songwe Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS), Mr David Kafulila, said the region has established a Songwe Business and Investment Company with the specific purpose of facilitating all business and investment activities.
Some of the company’s shares will be listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) in efforts to attract potential public investors, as well as mobilise development funds.