Tanzania inks pact with India to boost trade volumes

Friday December 6 2019

 

By Alex Malanga @ChiefMalanga amalanga@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. The Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Dar es Salaam which is geared at boosting trade volumes between the two countries.

Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) data show that India is among the top five sources of investments in Tanzania.

Until 2017, Indian investors had invested a total of $2.2 billion in various sectors of Tanzania’s economy.

In this regard, India was only behind China, the UK, the US and Mauritius.

Until 2017, China, UK, US and Mauritius had invested $5.9 billion, $5.54 billion, $4.7 billion and $4.308 billion in Tanzania respectively.

Gracing the India-Tanzania Business Forum, Industry and Trade minister Innocent Bashungwa said the MoU was meant to boost trade volumes, and also address the trade imbalance between the two countries.

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The trade volumes between the two stood at $1.9 billion (about Sh4.3 trillion) in 2018, slightly below the previous year’s $2.1 billion (Sh4.8 trillion).

However, the minister did not give a breakdown of the volume’s share for each country.

“Apart from the downward trend in trade volume, there is also a trade imbalance. That’s why we are today signing the MoU to address the situation,” Mr Bashungwa stated.

While Tanzania’s exports to India include cashew nuts, gold, vegetables, spices, wood and timber, its imports from that country are mostly medicines, pesticides, petroleum products, tractors, wires and cables.

About 9,100 Indian companies operate in manufacturing, telecoms, transport, agriculture, tourism, services, construction, energy, finance, natural resources and human resources, according to the minister.

The TPSF acting executive director, Zachy Mbenna, said there’re many opportunities for trade expansion between the two.

With the signing of MoU, Tanzania stands the chance of attracting capital, technology and expertise from more Indian investors.

Therefore, Mr Mbenna called on Indian entrepreneurs to come and invest in agriculture and agro-processing and pharmaceuticals.

“Investment opportunities in Tanzania are virtually unlimited,” he said, urging on prospective Indian investors to enter into joint ventures with Tanzanians.

Speaking on behalf of the CII, Manikantan Rajendran expressed optimism that the MoU would help to boost existing ties and provide opportunities for new business partnerships.

Mr Rajendran - who is vice president for Business Development, at KEC International Ltd - said investors from India were looking at possible collaboration in the future in setting up export processing zones in Tanzania.

This is intended to help Tanzania move up the export value chain ladder - and also reach its goal of becoming a manufacturing powerhouse.

Other possible areas for cooperation are agriculture and agro based industries, as well as infrastructure development.

“The 19-people CII business delegation is eager to interact with key industry officials and businessmen from your country,” Mr Rajendran stated.

In another development, CII also signed a MoU with the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Business Council.