Tanzania is forging a strong position as a major foreign investment hub in Africa, thanks to its strategic location as a gateway to six landlocked countries, membership of multiple economic groups and duty free access to the largest economies in the world.
I have been privileged to experience this remarkable progress during my decades of travelling to Tanzania and I am proud that Expo 2020 Dubai will be a platform for this inspiring nation to present its own story of achievements and opportunity to the world.
More than 180 nations, plus many multinational companies, organisations and education institutions will participate in Expo 2020, while 70 per cent of the 25 million visits are expected to be from outside the UAE, making it one of the most inclusive World Expos in the event’s 166-year history.
Expo 2020’s main theme of ‘Connecting minds, Creating the future’, has been at the core of the UAE-Tanzania relationship for centuries.
As our ancestors collectively strove to better understand each other, whether through cultural exchange, political agreements or business transactions, similarly, Expo 2020 aims to collaborate with Tanzania to use this global platform to achieve its national goals.
For the first time, each participating country will have its own pavilion – a platform to express themselves fully, and to create their own connections and networking opportunities.
Tanzania will have space to initiate its own hosting of dialogue with other nations, businesses and organisations, helping to create and deepen relationships – which could lead to new opportunities or solutions to pressing problems.
We believe this global destination will support Tanzania to showcase to the world why it is one of the fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, and how it is transforming towards a middle-income country, a growth that I have personally witnessed.
Expo is an ideal opportunity to attract foreign direct investment, by broadcasting the advantage that businesses in Tanzania have through quota-free, duty-free access to massive markets such as China, the US, Japan, South Korea and Canada, meaning exporting businesses set-up in Tanzania have access to a significant portion of the global market.
Tanzania’s small and medium-sized enterprises will have the ability to promote themselves to a receptive global audience, while the country can highlight its strengthened business environment and legislation that guarantees foreign investments.
Tanzania and the UAE already have a long history of trade and diplomatic ties, which we are continuously deepening. The trade balance between our two nations has surpassed $2 billion, while through an air transport agreement and a memorandum of understanding signed last year we are collaborating to enhance tourism development.
The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development is also working with Tanzania to implement multiple crucial development projects, and I have publicly recognised the potential for Tanzania and the UAE to pursue business and investment opportunities in priority areas such as agriculture, infrastructure, energy and tourism, as we continue to build our strategic partnership.
Many UAE-based companies have already proactively taken advantage of Tanzania’s favourable investment environment, investing in oil and gas exploration, mining, hospitality, agriculture, tourism and other industries.
I look forward to witnessing and supporting the opportunities that emerge for Tanzania.
Reem Al Hashimy is the UAE minister of State for International Cooperation and director general of Dubai Expo 2020