Tanzania out to own commercial buildings elsewhere in Africa

What you need to know:

  • The Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Mr January Makamba, said the money for the projects would be sourced through various means, including partnerships and loans

Dar es Salaam. The government is embarking on an ambitious project to build residential, official and commercial buildings in several countries in an effort to boost revenues for the Foreign Affairs docket.

Requesting Parliament to endorse a budget of Sh241.069 billion in Dodoma on Tuesday, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Mr January Makamba, said the money would be sourced through various means, including partnerships and loans.

“These funds include Sh150 billion for the construction of offices, the ambassador’s residence and an economic investment in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo; Sh127 billion for the construction of offices and an economic investment in Nairobi, Kenya; and Sh66.1 billion for the construction of offices, the ambassador’s residence, and economic investments in Lusaka, Zambia,” he said.

Makamba pic

Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation minister January Makamba (second right) is congratulated by fellow ministers and MPs after Parliament passed his docket’s 2024/25 budget proposals in Parliament on May 28, 2024. Looking on is Mr Makamba’s deputy, Mr Mbarouk Nassor Mbarouk.  PHOTO | EDWIN MJWAHUZI

In the DRC, Mr Makamba added, the ministry has entered into a partnership deal with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) for the construction of a 22-storey twin-tower building.

In Kinshasa, a 25-storey building will be built, he told Parliament.

The planned construction of embassy and commercial buildings for Tanzania will also include the government’s properties in Kampala, Uganda, and Abuja, Nigeria, among others.

Responding to the budget, Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security Committee said the projects were good and that they execution should put the interests of Tanzania first.

The committee’s chairperson, Mr Vita Kawawa, said normally, the plan for public-private partnerships in the construction of embassy buildings and commercial properties faces various challenges, including limited budget and laws that do not fully enable private sector participation.

“These challenges need to be addressed for the plan to be implemented effectively. In implementing the plan for public-private partnerships in the construction of embassy buildings and commercial properties, the Ministry should broaden the scope and involve private and public companies in the countries where these projects are being implemented,” he said.

In his budget speech, Mr Makamba detailed a number of issues, including the benefits of President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s 4R (reconciliation, reforms, resilience, and rebuilding) philosophy, the role of Tanzanians in diaspora on the country’s economy and the need to swiftly complete the planned special status for them (diaspora).

Marketing 4R philosophy

Mr Makamba told the House that since the implementation of the Foreign Policy was a continuation of the implementation of Tanzania’s Domestic Policy, the country’s representatives in various countries have been trained on how to market the 4Rs in a manner that yields benefits to their motherland.

“Tanzanian embassies abroad have been given the responsibility of explaining and clarifying this philosophy and its principles as they perform their representative duties,” Mr Makamba said.

He said his Ministry believes that a sincere marketing approach for the 4Rs will enable the international community to understand the important steps being taken by President Hassan’s administration in upholding democracy, human rights, good governance, and protecting national values, including peace, unity, and solidarity.

He said it was due to the candid implementation of the foreign policy that Tanzanian remains a respected country that enjoys cordial ties with all other countries across the world.

As such, he said, the country has also been receiving various leaders from various countries and also those from multilateral agencies.

Combined with various trips by Tanzania’s leaders to various friendly countries and multilateral organisations, the country has managed to effectively market its investment opportunities.

As a result Tanzania attracted investment projects valued at $5.7 billion last year, Mr Makamba said.

To increase productivity, efficiency, and accountability in the execution of duties, Mr Makamba said, his ministry has prepared a specific performance measurement plan using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which will start to be used in the year 2024/25.

The plan, he said, will outline the Government’s priorities, the Ministry’s strategic plan, and the realities of the area of representation.

“Additionally, this plan will enable our Ambassadors and Heads of Departments and Units to perform their duties in line with the outlined targets…,” he said adding that the specific Ministry plan will be implemented alongside the performance management system in the public service.

The Foreign Affairs docket, Mr Makamba said, was committed to strengthening Tanzania’s voice in the United Nations and restore the country’s respect on the international stage. As such, the focus will be on ensuring that the country votes strategically and that it is always guided by a policy of non-alignment.

Diaspora remit $751.6mn

Meanwhile, Tanzanians in diaspora sent home a total of $751.6 million last year, Mr Makamba said on Tuesday.

“Given their importance, the government has incorporated diaspora issues in the review of the New Foreign Policy of 2001 and the New Land Policy of 2024, and has granted Special Status to foreign citizens of Tanzanian origin to provide them with specific rights and privileges,” he said.

Tanzania’s laws compel its citizens who acquire citizenship of other countries to renounce their original citizenship and thus lose all the benefits that come with being a Tanzanian.

But Mr Makamba said the government was aware of the important contribution of citizens of Tanzanian-origin living abroad (Diaspora) to the country’s economy, hence the need to offer them a special status.

“For instance, during the period from January to December 2023, Diaspora investment in the housing and land sectors through the National Housing Corporation and the companies KC Land Development Plan and Orange Tanzania reached Sh9.28 billion, up from Sh4.4 billion in 2022,” he said.