New Delhi, April 15, 2021 - At the outset, let me express my sincere thanks to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for the excellent preparations of this forum. Thank you very much. I also wish to thank the Honourable Minister of Industries and Trade, Prof. Kitila Mkumbo for finding time to join us despite the tight schedule of work due to the ongoing Parliamentary Session. Thank you very much, Mister Minister.
I have been informed that we have had more than 250 registered participants from the Indian side and about half the number from the Tanzanian side. This is a very good number and it demonstrates the great interest that the business fraternity has on each other in our two brotherly countries.
Mr. Moderator, I must admit that speaking after presentations and statements by previous speakers is quite bit tricky to me. Certainly, I may not be able to say things that have not been said here.
I therefore crave for your indulgence for repeating the things that may have been pronounced here by these speakers before me, with the benefit, of course, of a different tone and format:
Number one, Tanzania and India have a robust and historical relationship that has spanned several decades. This relationship is continuously strengthened by a growing development partnership, educational linkages, trade and investment flows and, of course, people to people exchange between our two nations.
Number Two, the two countries have benefitted from a long tradition of high-level exchanges, including visits right from the time of the late President Dr. Julius Nyerere and the Indian leadership. In the recent past, there have been high level visits to India by the then President of Zanzibar, H.E. Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein (2014); by the then President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete (2015); by the then Vice-President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Dr. Mohammed Bilal; by the then Second Vice-President of Zanzibar, H.E. Ambassador Seif Ali Idd (2017) and many Ministers from both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar. On the Indian side, the most recent high-level visit to Tanzania has been that of the Prime Minister, Hon. Narendra Modi to Tanzania in July 2016.
Number Three, Tanzania has grown to become one of the preferred business destinations in East Africa, owing to its abundant natural wealth, excellent geographical location – with a long coastline; arable land; huge mineral deposits, oil and gas and world-renowned tourist attractions.
Number Four, Tanzania is a peaceful country with a stable political environment, reasonable macroeconomic policies, and resiliency from external shocks. It has a sizeable domestic and sub regional market; and abundant inexpensive labour. We welcome Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as we pursue our ambitious industrialization and development agenda.
As it has been said here before, profitable sectors for foreign investment in Tanzania have traditionally included agriculture and a variety of diverse investment in mining, tourism, and trade. In addition, infrastructure development offers investment opportunities in rail, real estate development, power and energy and construction. The canvas has widened much further now, with opportunities in Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals, Manufacturing, etc, etc.
Number Five, India and Tanzania have the advantage of being connected directly by the Indian Ocean and now airway connectivity is excellent with the coming back of Air Tanzania and Air India. Tanzania serves as a perfect entry point for Indian companies to access the six other land-linked countries of Uganda, DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia and Malawi which rely on Tanzania for passage of goods. Furthermore, Tanzania being a member of the SADC Free Trade Area and EAC Common Market also provides access to these markets via developed rail and road networks.
Number Six, Tanzania offers various incentives to foreign investors and conforms to the best practices in several cases. There are no geographical restrictions on private establishments with foreign participation or ownership and no limitations on number of foreign entities that can operate in a given sector.
Number Seven, Indians in Tanzania play a crucial role in the economy of the country and, so far they have become a distinctive part of the country’s social fabric. The amalgamation of our cultures has reached such a degree, wherein Indians have ceased to be ‘outsiders;’ and instead have become a part of the country.
Number Eight, India is the largest trading partner of Tanzania with the total trade, for the year 2019-20 standing at 2763.56 million USD. India is also among the top five investment sources in Tanzania with its total investment approximately USD 2.2 billion. Several major Indian companies such as Tata International, Bharti Airtel, Larsen & Tuobro (L & T), Ashok Leyland, Godrej, banks such as Bank of India, Canara Bank and Baroda and many others are already present in Tanzania. This stands testimony to the very lucrative environment that Tanzania offers for doing business.
The years to come will require increased movement of trade, capital and human resources from both India to Tanzania as well as vice versa. I should mention in parting that the flow of human capital and trade has laid the foundation for a relationship which continues to have a great scope for growth.
In closing, let me say that there are immense opportunities and windows which may emerge by which Tanzania can improve its relations with India. Although such opportunities and windows may be limited at the moment when we are in the midst of very unpleasant circumstances brought by COVID-19 pandemic, change and progress is a marathon, not a sprint. In fact, the Post-COVID-19 ushers in more hope. And the outcome of this is entirely in the hands of you folks in this platform and, those who are following this discussion out there.
I Thank You.