Dar es Salaam. A business delegation from Tanzania will visit the Democratic Republic Congo (DRC) next month.
The visit will be part of efforts to foster relations in line with the aspirations of the leaders of the two East African Community (EAC) member states.
The one-week mission, which is slated to start on November 7, will be a follow-up to President Félix Tshisekedi’s two-day official visit to Tanzania. Mr Tshisekedi left the country yesterday after meeting with President Samia Suluhu Hassan.
The two leaders witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on defence and security; infrastructure and transport; trade and investment, as well as social cooperation.
In their joint press briefing on Sunday, they deliberated on a number of grand infrastructure projects such as the standard gauge railway (SGR) and road construction as a way of improving connectivity, which is key to boosting trade between Tanzania and the DRC, the only two EAC members that also belong to the 16-member Southern African Development Community (Sadc).
During the meeting, President Hassan said the DRC was ready to receive members of the business community from Tanzania.
And speaking to The Citizen yesterday, Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) president Paul Koyi said a trade and investment mission will travel to Lubumbashi in the DRC next month where they will hold site visits and business meetings to discuss specific areas of investments and trade.
The mission to the second largest city in the DRC will consist of a trade and investment forum, business to business (B2B) meetings and site visits to key economic sectors in that country.
“We plan to go with a delegation of 50 members of the business community to check on areas such as agriculture, minerals, timber, general trade finance, construction and building materials, and also real estate,” Mr Koyi said.
He added that in agriculture, for instance, the DRC was blessed with good weather, but their productivity was still “very low”. As a result, commodities like food crops and all forms of cereals are in high demand.
He said other areas of investment and trading connections between the countries will be that of hospitality sector, textiles, transport and logistics.
“We will also be meeting with that’s similar to TCCIA in the DRC to see how we can navigate the models of doing business and facilitate the partnerships between the private sectors of our two countries,” he said.
Analysts say being one of the biggest countries geographically and demographically, the DRC created a large market for products produced in Tanzania, especially in the agricultural sector in terms of food and other commodities.
“DRC is a big country with a huge population which will increase our market in East Africa… Being a new member of the EAC, the DRC offers Tanzanian businesses with some reliefs in terms of tax because of the measures that the members of the EAC have to enjoy,” said the Repoa’s executive director, Dr Donald Mmari.
The DRC is the major customer for Tanzania’s ports. It accounts for close to 40 percent of all transit goods that pass through Tanzania’s ports. Lake Tanganyika, which borders the two countries, also has ports that could be utilised to the advantage of both countries, said Dr Mmari.
Latest data show that a total of 2.956 million tonnes of goods destined for the DRC passed through Tanzania’s ports during the 2021/22 financial year. This was about 38 percent of a total of 7.801 million tonnes of goods in transit that passed through Tanzania’s ports during the financial year.
Zambia came second with 2.036 million tonnes while Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi and Uganda came in third, fourth, fifth and sixth positions respectively, with 1.487 million tonnes, 493,078 tonnes, 470,277 tonnes and 209,975 tonnes respectively