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Grab market opportunities in Egypt, traders advised

Friday June 18 2021
Coffee PIC

Coffee farmers harvesting their crop somewhere in Tanzania. PHOTO | FILE

By Josephine Christopher

Dar es Salaam. Tanzanian businesses have been urged to strategically engage and fully exploit the relatively huge potential in the Egyptian market in an effort to fill the trade gap between the two countries that currently stands at $31 million in favour of the north African nation.

Speaking on this yesterday, the Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TanTrade) director general, Edwin Rutageruka, said that, although the value of exports from Tanzania to Egypt has increased from $1 million in 2016 to $3 million in 2020, fluctuations continue to exist, affecting the volume of trade between the two countries.

“In the past five years Tanzania has been exporting spices, cashew nuts, fish fillets and coffee, while major imports from Egypt include pharmaceutical products, electrical machinery and equipment - making a total import value to be at $34 million,” he said.

Mr Rutageruka was giving his remarks during a B2B Matchmaking event organised by the Egyptian embassy in Tanzania, and which involved businesspersons from the foods sub-sector. These include confectionery, starch, glucose, baking ingredients, canned foods, oil, sauces, snacks, soft drinks, oils, printing and packaging materials.

“Tanzania also has the potential to diversify its export range into textile and leather products,” the TanTrade boss added.

The Egyptian ambassador, His Excellency Mohamed El Shawaf, said the business interactions are among the initiatives which would boost trade and investments between the two countries, while fostering recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic adversities. “This networking and interaction would boost trade and investments, which were badly hit by Covid-19 last year. It would also foster bilateral cooperation between the two states,” he said.

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The director for Membership Services, Mr Zacky Mbenna, said Tanzanians should engage strategically with the foreign market so that they can make a difference in their businesses.

He said the two governments should also work on addressing the hurdles that play merry hell the sector, including policies and trade agreements in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa).

“We have a wide range of similar products that the Egyptians are selling to Tanzania, so let’s engage with sober minds - and also use this as a training and bolstering platform for business and commercial sector development,” said Mr Mbenna.

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