Viewpoint: President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli

Through Development Vision 2025, Tanzania has committed itself to becoming a semi-industrialised nation by the year 2025. In 2017 we have focused on developing a strong industrial base by establishing export processing zones, special economic zones and other services that promote the exchange of goods. We invite all trading partners to make full use of these, which will benefit both investors and Tanzania itself.

We have a large market in a very strategically located country. Tanzania borders eight other countries, six of which – Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia – are landlocked. These landlocked countries use Tanzania’s territory to conduct international trade. Business with Tanzania automatically entails business with these countries, which is why Tanzania is the best place for investment. As a member of the EAC as well as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Tanzania provides investors a huge market of approximately 400m people.

In addition to the trade potential within these blocs, Tanzania benefits from free trade agreements with China, India, Japan, the US and the EU. For those exploring investment opportunities in Tanzania, potential investors are automatically doing business with not only the EAC and SADC, but also China, India and others.

Besides favourable business and investment environments, the country has 43m ha of arable land, only 10m of which are currently being farmed. These tracts can be used for water irrigation, and soil quality tests indicate that this land is suitable for a number of crops.

On the subject of food, fishing is a promising sub-sector with expanding opportunities for private investment. Our country has around 400,000 tonnes of fish per annum, yet we are only producing 130,000 tonnes per annum. With this in mind, the government has reduced import taxes on most fisheries’ equipment, including that used in fish farming. To this end, we invite investors to capitalise on opportunities in deep-water fishing, fish processing, canning and aquaculture.

There are also many investment opportunities in tourism, one of the fastest-growing sectors. Tourism accounts for around 34% of exports, and in 2017 it is expected to contribute 17.2% to GDP with an increase of 25% in foreign exchange earnings.

We are currently the only country in the world that has allocated more than 25% of its total area for wildlife, including several dozen national parks, game reserves and game controlled areas, as well as a number of marine and conservation areas. Investment opportunities remain in tourism infrastructure, namely in the construction of more game lodges and hotels.

The construction sector and accompanying services sector are also growing very quickly, and IT in particular is among the fastest-growing. We have many infrastructure projects in the pipeline, including public-private partnerships using the build-operate-transfer project financing model. All of the medium- to large-sized projects are open to foreign investment.

For those looking to invest in mineral processing, there is investment potential in the mining sector, including mining of not only precious minerals and gemstones, but also industrial gases, such as methane, propane and helium. The presence of these raw materials guarantees that those within the extractive industries are able to process these minerals while adding value to the finished product. We have a great deal of resources, but we are not taking full advantage of our potential for maximum profitability.

In addition, our wealth of available raw materials for fishing, livestock, forestry, agriculture and mining presents many possible ventures in the manufacturing industry. After Ethiopia and Sudan, Tanzania has the third-largest (or perhaps second-largest) supply of livestock, yet we still have only a few industries and factories that can process the meat to utilise for exports.

The above is an abridged version of President John Magufuli’s May 2017 speech at the South Africa- Tanzania Business Forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.