Trade volume between Tanzania and the 27 member states of the European Union (EU) stood at 1,306 million Euros (about 3.265tri/-) during the year 2021, with the latter enjoying the lion’s share of trade and investment.
Speaking in Dar es Salaam yesterday ahead of the EU-Tanzania Business Forum slated for February 23 and 24 this year, the Head of the EU Delegation in Tanzania, Ambassador Manfredo Fanti, said Tanzania imported products valued at 850 million Euros (about 2.125tri) from the EU.
During the same period, Amb Fanti said, Tanzania’s exports to the EU countries stood at 456 million Euros (about 1.140tri/-).
Tanzania’s exports to EU member states include coffee, frozen fish, sesame seeds, cashew nuts, avocados and vegetable seeds.
On the other hand, Tanzania imports medicines, motor vehicles, wheat, spare parts of motor vehicles, insecticides and laboratory reference materials.
The envoy was optimistic that the business forum would boost trade and investment between the EU countries and Tanzania.
According to Amb Fanti, the 2023 EU-Tanzania Business Forum is tailor-made to selected entities and participants who will benefit from direct business-to-business (B2B), business-to-financial institutions, and business-to-government actors’ one-on-one engagements and matchmaking.
“To ensure the business forum is successful, the EU and the government of Tanzania have engaged multiple stakeholders from the private sector in Tanzania and Europe in addition to financial institutions and other experts,” he said.
Amb Fanti noted further that the business forum would attract high-level participation from Tanzania and Europe, including political leaders, heads of international financial institutions, executives of distinguished companies and prominent business delegates.
“About 600 participants interested in investing and expanding their business in sectors such as energy transition, agriculture, manufacturing, logistics in addition to digital connectivity and construction will convene during the two days of the forum,” he remarked.
The diplomat commented further that the business forum aims to showcase Tanzania’s opportunities and comparative advantage for EU investors and facilitate discussions among businesspersons, government officials and political leaders from the two parties.
“Moreover, the forum aims at catalysing new partnerships and present tools for private investment in areas such as registration of companies, issuance of work permits and rules of origin.
“The forum will also play a crucial role in the development of the private sector by enabling it to access finance, connectivity and skills development as well as providing a platform for private-public dialogue to improve the business environment,” he stated.
Amb Fanti stated that the maiden business forum between Tanzania and EU members comes at a time when the government of Tanzania is taking various measures to open up the economy through improving the business climate and constant strategic reforms.
According to Amb Fanti, the business forum is part of a longstanding commitment by the EU to support the development of the private sector in Tanzania.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC)’s Director of Research, Planning and Information Systems, Mr Mafutah Bunini, said the business forum would play a crucial role in harnessing trade and investment between Tanzania and Europe.
“The EU is a vital trade partner with Tanzania; there are a lot of opportunities to benefit from the European population of about 440 million people,” Mr Bunini stated.
He added, “This forum offers Tanzania a great opportunity to welcome European investments, technology and expertise.”
Mr Bunini noted further that the business forum is part of efforts by the government of Tanzania to attract businesses and investments across the globe in critical sectors of the economy, such as renewable energy, mining, manufacturing and agriculture, among others.
“The EU-Tanzania business forum is expected to improve confidence and trust, advancing the business environment for economic interaction between the two parties.
The TIC official called upon Tanzanians to explore trade and investment opportunities with Europe in agriculture and manufacturing, among others.