Arusha. Over 150,000 Tanzanians have secured employment in firms which won investments from the European Union (EU).
There are over 100 of them active in agriculture, energy, logistics, trade facilitation and education and training projects.
Others are involved in institutional capacity building, access to water and health, fighting against piracy and good governance programmes.
This was revealed in Dar es Salaam on Monday by the minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Liberata Mulamula at the commemoration of Europe Day.
She reiterated Tanzania’s revitalised commitment to working closely with the EU for the mutual benefits of the two parties.
“We believe that in numbers there is strength hence we remain committed to enhance integration,” Ms Mulamula said.
She hailed the business conglomerates from the EU bloc which invested in Tanzania, thus granting jobs to the locals.
“I dare say large companies from the EU have been active investors in Tanzania,” she was quoted saying by a dispatch from the East African Community (EAC) secretariat.
According to Ms Mulamula, more than 100 local firms that benefited from the investments, employed around 151,000 Tanzanians.
Most of the EU delegation’s funding to Tanzania originates from the European Development Fund (EDF) in the form of grants.
The EDF is financed by EU member states and supports cooperation in economic, social and human development projects as well as regional cooperation and integration.
Potential investors from the EU have lately become optimistic on what they see as an improved business environment in the country.
This is particularly so with foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows which dropped by a third between 2015 and last year.
The EU Investment in Tanzania Report 2022 unveiled recently said the ongoing reforms have created a conducive business environment.
“Investors are cautiously optimistic. FDI inflows will largely depend on favourable conditions to attract investment,” it said.
Renewed interest among investors from the EU is also set to improve the balance of trade (BOP) with Tanzania.
Currently, Tanzania imports more than what it exports to the EU with the latter’s exports to Tanzania for last year valued at 856 million euros (Sh2.1 trillion) while imports stood at 456 million euros (about Sh1.1 trillion).
The minister said Tanzania was keen on the integration projects that have created multiple regional trading blocs in Africa.
Tanzania is a member of both the EAC and the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) and signatory to African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The EAC-EU ties began in 1975 under the Lomé Convention and the Cotonou Partnership Agreements, two years before the former EAC collapsed.
The relations were revived after the rebirth of the Community in the 1990s, initially focussing on the transport, energy projects and trade. These were later extended to cover transport corridors, migration programmes and frameworks for democratic governance, among others.
Dr Mathuki said he recently engaged with the European Parliament on strengthening trade and investment relations between EAC and the EU.
“These discussions were further re-emphasized during the recent AU-EU Summit held last February in Brussels,” he pointed out.
The Europe Day that falls on 9th May every year commemorates the 1950 signing of the Schuman Declaration which gave birth to the EU,one of the world’s strongest economic blocs.