Tanzania Investment Centre Predicts Increase in FDI

Tanzania investment is set to become more lucrative as new target campaign has been designed that is expected to make the country a more competitive destination both for investments and for investors.

According to a recent report by East African Business Week, Mr. Raymond Mbilinyi – the director for investment promotion with the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) – said that the target campaign has identified several key sectors and sub-sectors that should be more deliberately promoted; these sectors include mining, tourism and agribusiness.

At a news conference in September, Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) executive director, Emmanuel Ole Naiko, indicated that he believed that foreign direct investment (FDI) in Tanzania could increase by as much as 25 percent from the amount received in 2007, through the promotion and performance of the mining and tourism sectors.

“In 2008, we can see more foreign and local investors,” said Mr. Naiko, “I will not be surprised if we surpass the figure of $750 million.”

In 2007, Tanzania received $600 million in FDI, which is an increase from the $522 million it received the previous year and a slightly higher figure than the $550 projection that Mr. Naiko had originally predicted.

According to a report in the East African Business Week, the focus of the target campaign on the mining sector includes the minerals and the materials it produces, such as base metals, gemstones, gold and Tanzanite as well as hydrocarbons, such as oil, natural gas and coal.

While the Tanzania mining sector has performed well in the past and is expected to continue to do so, Mr. Naiko said that the sector can perform even better if it acts quickly to implement reforms that will reduce the amount of red tape that investors often have to cut through before beginning their work in this sector.

In addition, Mr. Naiko said that he would also like to see the financial services of the mining sector become further liberalized and for there to be fewer debates about how to exploit the natural mineral deposits that are available, such as coal and iron.

Speaking in reference to deposits in southern Tanzania, Mr. Naiko said that, “it is difficult to understand why a country like Mozambique has managed to develop their coal mines so fast, leaving us debating who should develop Mchuchuma coal or Liganga iron.”

In addition to the mining sector, the Tanzania investment target campaign also focuses on the tourism sector through the promotion of beach tourism, conference tourism, sports/golf tourism, seaports, city tourism, medical tourism and historical tourism.

While the mining and tourism sectors are the primary focus of the campaign, the agribusiness sector has also been included in the current target campaign because more than half of the country’s population relies on this sector and the manufacturing sector for their livelihood.

The target campaign promotes the agriculture sector by focusing on its traditional crops, horticulture, floriculture, aquaculture, sugar ethanol, palm oil, jatropha, pyrethrum, artemisia and organic cotton.

Currently, there is approximately 44 million hectares of land available in Tanzania that is suitable for agriculture where cotton, for example, can be grown, processed and exported to Japan.

According to Mr. Raymond Mbilinyi (TIC), in a report by the East African Business Week, there are still a lot of investment opportunities available in Tanzania in terms of agriculture mechanization, mining, equipment leasing finance, infrastructure and real estate development.

Because of the natural resources within the country and because of it strategic global location, Mr. Mbilinyi said that Tanzania is now, and will continue to be, a competitive destination for investment in spite of the challenges it faces both internally and globally as well as in terms of competition from other countries.

“The business environment of Tanzania is improving rapidly including macro-economic stability, peace, security and good governance,” said Mr. Mbilinyi, “not only that, but also our country has strong partnership between the private sector and the government.”