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Tanzania Investment Profile
Tanzania Investment Profile Interview Print E-mail
Written by Eric Tirabassi   
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Tanzania Investment Profile Interview
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{plusone}TANZANIAINVEST has conducted an exclusive interview with Mr. Emmanuel Ole Naiko, the former Executive Director of the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), in order to learn about the current investment framework in Tanzania and also to ask about the opportunities that are currently available, or those which will soon become available, to investors who are interested in exploring the options that are available to them in terms of foreign direct investment in this rapidly developing country.

Ole-Naiko-Tanzania-Investment-Centre
Mr. Emmanuel Ole Naiko, the Executive Director of the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), speaks wih TANZANIAINVEST about the investment framework and opportunities in the country.

TI: How would you assess the TIC's ten years of activity and its success in bringing foreign direct investment to Tanzania?

EON: It is very encouraging; it is more than what I had expected.

In the past, Tanzania was a socialist country; the private sector wasn’t allowed to participate in the economy prior to 1990.

But when we moved into a market-oriented economy, the TIC was established in 1990 to ensure that we revive the private sector, which was basically closed down in 1967.

When we started, we met a lot of resistance because of various legislations that conflicted with the spirit of inviting the private sector to do business.

In 1995, the government decided it was time to review the first investment code that allowed the private sector into business but on segmented areas.

As a result, we came up with a completely new investment policy in 1996, which opened up doors in areas that were only open to investors.

After serious debates throughout the country, we were able to establish a new investment code in 1997, which became the foundation of the TIC.

The objective was to build a private sector that was vibrant and strong, which would become the engine of economic growth.

Initially, we couldn’t see that working very much, but in September 2007 alone, for example, we saw a number of companies coming to Tanzania.

Over time, investors saw the opportunities that we had and they also saw the enabling environment.

We worked together with the private sector to ensure that all the impediments and barriers to the revival of the private sector were removed.

One pleasure that I have is seeing thousands of private sector companies working in Tanzania, in mining, in manufacturing, in tourism.

In all these sectors, the private sector is running the economy.

What needs to be done now is to ensure that the Tanzanian economy grows through the market-oriented policy that we have adopted.

Tanzania Investment Framework

TI: The TIC was named Best Investment Promotion Agency this year by the World Bank. To what factors would you attribute the high performance ranking that the TIC received?

EON: First, I would say it is political will; we have a government that is very committed to reforms and having such political will is one factor that has enabled us to deal with impediments.

The current president, His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete, has been chairing roundtable meetings, which have helped resolve impediments and foster mentality changes.

The second factor is the quality of the manpower we have at the TIC.

The people have been carefully chosen from the market so they can promote, facilitate, and take care of the investors that have been investing in this country.

So we have a capable manpower, we have political will, we have enabling legislations, and we are working towards reforms of those legislations.

Investors see what we are doing and are happy of the kind of treatment they receive, and I can assure you, we will continue in this spirit.

TI: Are there some things that still need to be changed in the legal framework in order for investors to be able to take full advantage of the investment opportunities that Tanzania presents?

EON: Yes.

Although we have commercial codes, there are some commercial cases that are piling up.

We still have old labor laws that nurture people who are not willing to work harder.

We are working on changing that.

Then, there is the land issue for which we want to establish a credible land bank.

We have started this process but we need to refine it further so that if investors come today, they know where to get the land.

We are currently working with the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF) to start a pilot project whereby we will identify lands and survey them, so that investors know exactly where to go.

There is also the issue of lease financing; we still have problems with the accessibility of credit facilities.

We are working very closely with the banks to see how we can bring the interest rates down to encourage people to borrow locally.

So we are looking forward to the second generation financial reforms.