Improved Tanzania Trade Relations with Russia Sought

According to a recent report by The Citizen, during the Tanzania-Russia Business Forum, which was recently in Dar es Salaam, it was indicated that the agro-processing and manufacturing sectors of the Tanzania economy are looking to receive increased investments from Russia in an effort to improve both the bilateral trade and the economic ties between the two countries.

In addition, the forum also provided an opportunity for Tanzania business and investment promotion agencies to promote current and upcoming opportunities for Russian companies to participate in the Tanzania investment and business sectors.

The Tanzanian companies that participated in the forum include the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), the Export Processing Zones Authority, the Private Sector Foundation and the Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture.

Participating Russian companies, including manufacturers of equipment for agriculture, gas and oil exploration, mining, trains and airplanes, were also able to display and promote their products and services at the business forum.

According to the report by The Citizen, Dr. Mary Nagu, the Tanzanian Minister for Industries, Trade and Marketing, spoke to the business delegation from Russia during the forum concerning the current trade relationship between the two countries, reportedly calling it dismal, in spite of the fact that the two countries have similar ideological backgrounds.

While speaking to the Russian delegation, Dr. Nagu requested that they begin to seriously consider increasing their investment in the Tanzania processing and manufacturing industries so as to support growth in the country’s capacity in agro processing, which is currently relatively small.

“We need the partnership and cooperation of Russian industrialists to come and team up with our local entrepreneurs to develop and expand Tanzania’s capacity in the processing and manufacturing industries,” Dr. Nagu informed the Russian business delegation during the recent Tanzania-Russia Business Forum.

“We need capital and technology,” she continued, “to improve our processing capacities for value addition.”

According to Dr. Nagu, increased investment from Russia in the Tanzania agro-processing industry will not only support economic growth in the country, but will also help to improve the overall trade relations between the two countries by reducing the current imbalance in trade that has existed over the years, mostly in favor of Russia.

The Citizen went on to report that statistics have shown that, between 2004 and 2008, exports from Tanzania to Russia increased from Tzs 1.41 billion to Tzs 5.985 billion while, at the same time, Russian exports to Tanzania witnessed an increase from Tzs 2.3 billion to Tzs 87.82 billion.

“This indicates that there is potential for trade between the two countries to grow to higher levels,” said Dr. Nagu, “However we need also to close the trade imbalance that grew from Sh866 million in 2004 to Sh81.8 billion in 2008 in favor of Russia.”