How businesses operating in Tanzania can find success

Dar es Salaam. The business community yesterday highlighted five recommendations for businesses to thrive amid the effects of Covid-19 and Russia-Ukraine war.
 The Russian-Ukrainian conflict, which began in February of this year, and the pandemic, the first case of which was confirmed in December 2019, are described as a double burden for trade and investment.
To rescue the situation, members of the private sector, who were speaking here yesterday during the opening ceremony of the US Trade Mission to Tanzania and Kenya, suggested the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) business model and partnership between indigenous and foreign investors. 
The list of recommendations also includes putting in place policies that promote small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), investment in manpower, and continuity in investment. 
Zachy Mbenna, the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) director of policy, advocacy, and membership management, said at the event hosted by Equity Bank Tanzania that for the private sector to remain the engine of the country’s economy, they really needed to work closely with the government in the form of the PPP.
He went on to say that the private sector should not end up partnering with the government only, but also within themselves. 
He explained that indigenous and foreign investors should enter into partnerships to strengthen their businesses.
 “Forming business partnerships between indigenous and foreign investors can shape our businesses and create economic opportunity,” asserted Mr Mbenna. 
He also advocated for policies that foster an enabling business environment for entrepreneurs, specifically SMEs.
“SMEs are more flexible than large-scale firms. This could be evidenced during the Covid-19 when they were flexible in turning to businesses related to the pandemic,” observed Mr Mbenna.
The question of policy, he explained, should go in tandem with capacity building of investors falling under the category of SMEs.
“For our investment to be meaningful, our people should be equipped with skills,” recommended Mr Mbenna.
Despite the challenges, he concluded, members of the private sector needed to ensure business and initiatives to invest continued.
“We need to smartly sustain our businesses. As members of the private sector, we do not need to embrace under the carpet strategies in sustaining business. Instead, we need to share the same (strategies) across the African region,” suggested Mr Mbenna.
  The American Chamber of Commerce in Tanzania (AmCham-TZ) board member, Mr Burak Buyuksarac, said the US mission to Tanzania and Kenya comprised 28 companies. 
The companies, he explained, were from various sectors, including energy, telecommunication, health, extractive industry, logistics, and agriculture, among others.
  “As the American Chamber of Commerce in Tanzania, we believe that this (US trade mission) will lead to the creation of more business opportunities between Tanzania, Kenya and the USA,” he said.
Mr Buyuksarac, who doubles as the chief executive officer of BMS Group, a company dealing with tourism, security, consultancy, trading, interior design and construction, appreciated the efforts by Equity Bank to organise the US trade mission. Equity Bank Group director of corporate banking Raphael Onyango said the aim of bringing in the US mission was to facilitate business connections and collaboration. 
“This trade mission to Tanzania and Kenya will capacitate, coordinate, and champion business connections between the USA and Tanzania and Kenya,” said Mr Onyango.
He said, as a bank, they were committed to helping the private sector take their businesses to new heights. 
The trade mission, he said, was among the many initiatives that the group, through its regional banking subsidiaries in six countries, had put in place to accelerate the implementation of the African recovery and resilience plan amid the pandemic. Earlier this year, Equity Group launched the “Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan,’ a socio-economic transformation plan that Equity has seeded with a $7 billion fund with the aim of impacting 100 million people within the African continent. 
This was being implemented through the bank’s financial and social impact initiatives and reaching 5 million Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and 25 million individual customers to create 50 million jobs. 
The robust plan has seen the group champion investments by the private sector in the agricultural and extractive sectors, manufacturing, logistics, trade and investment. 
The plan has also touched the MSME sector, social and environmental transformation, and the promotion of a technology-enabled economy in order to support financial empowerment and wealth creation.

The US trade mission was also organised with the support of the East African Business Council and Prosper Africa.