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Harnessing Investment Opportunities in Tanzania: A Discussion Summary

For the past several years, Tanzania focused on implementing making economic reforms, reinforcing leadership ethics and investing in human development. This saw the country crossing the threshold into lower middle income status, well ahead of time as this is an achievement that had been anticipated by the year 2025. The onus is now on the nation to maintain and grow this status as envisioned in the Tanzania Development Vision (TDV) 2025.

In Tanzania’s five year development plan which was recently approved by Parliament, the private sector has been put at the center of the economic agenda. This was said by Hon. Kitila Mkumbo, Minister of State in the President’s Office in charge of Investment while speaking with members of the CEO Roundtable of Tanzania (CEOrt). With the government committed to promoting the private sector, the sector is tasked with driving and managing increased growth as the country builds on its middle income status.

A policy dialogue forum bringing together CEOs of leading companies in Tanzania to foster close cooperation between the public and private sectors in Tanzania with the view of accelerating expansion and growth of the Tanzanian economy in a sustainable manner, the CEOrt regularly facilitates dialogue between the sectors through its monthly members’ meetings. As guest speaker at the most recent meeting on harnessing investment opportunities in Tanzania, Hon. Mkumbo outlined his priorities in increasing local and foreign direct investment.

At the top of his portfolio is strengthening the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) and revising the Investment Act. The TIC will play a bigger role across multiple industries, including channeling any challenges potential investors may come across to the relevant sectors for resolution. There will also be a round of engagement for stakeholders to review the Investment Act before it is presented to the Parliament. The Ministry is also looking into working closely with the private sector to develop an Investment Promotion Strategy that shares success stories far and wide. Tanzania has a lot of potential but is yet to fully market itself, and this strategy would help address that. To support facilitation of the Investment Promotion Strategy, a National Investment Guide to highlight investment potentials in different sectors and regions.

To maximize possibilities of success, the Ministry will be introducing targeted investment to align investors with their areas of expertise and there is a need to identify potential investors beyond Tanzania (the diaspora) to take on these opportunities. Also in the plans is a private sector investment policy to ease confidence and trust between the Public and Private Sectors. “Sustainable engagement with investors is key,” Hon. Mkumbo reinforced.

Addressing questions from the members, the Minister also emphasized his commitment to ensuring he remains available to investors to resolve any strategic issues that may arise. The Ministry will also involve the private sector and obtain support from the CEOrt in creating a data set with a profile of investors to be used as a reference for future opportunities.

For the coming year, Hon. Prof. Mkumbo highlighted that priority sectors for investment include Agriculture where some industries lack the necessary raw materials; ining that has largely unexploited areas; Housing and Construction, Manufacturing, as well as Recreation and Tourism where certain areas remain unexplored. Another area with policy reforms in the process is the Work Act in collaboration with the Labour Ministry, particularly for expatriates requiring work permits and facing challenges with work permit quotas.