Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu last week launched a promotional campaign to attract investors and visitors to the country with the aim of reviving the economy, in a climate of positive sentiment that has recently tilted the trade balance in favor of Dar es Salaam.
Calling herself a tour guide, President Samia took a team of American filmmakers to tour the country’s major investment and tourism sites, setting the stage for what is billed as high-level international promotion that is expected to bring a lot of – need for foreign investment and tourists. The American filmmakers will make a documentary titled Royal Tour, which she says will be launched in the American market and shown around the world to market Tanzania.
“What I’m doing is promoting Tanzania internationally. We are going to film the attraction sites, ”she said last week in Tegeta, Dar es Salaam, on her way to Bagamoyo, in the coastal region.
Filming for the royal tour began on August 28 in Zanzibar, where the president had made an official visit. It will present various tourist, investment, artistic and cultural attractions in Tanzania.
The president’s diplomatic and commercial charm offensive has already started to bear fruit.
Data from the region’s central banks shows East Africa’s largest economy Kenya is losing ground to Tanzania in a Dodoma table reversal, as political temperatures rise in Nairobi ahead of the general election next year.
The shift in trade flows within the East African Community signals the slow but steady growth of Tanzania after years of languishing in Kenya’s shadow. Observers say the tide may be irreversible, especially if Dodoma attracts the necessary funding for its expensive projects in infrastructure, energy, agribusiness, and information and communications technology.
The evolving situation in Tanzania comes at a time when Kenya and Uganda are reporting lower bilateral trade figures over the past six months, with the credit going to President Samia’s efforts to remove tariff barriers and non-tariff since taking office in March.
According to the latest trade statistics, Kenya’s imports from Tanzania, comprising mainly grains, timber and edible vegetables, increased by 70 percent to reach $ 159.48 million in the six months to June, per compared to the corresponding period in 2020.
Although Kenya’s exports to Tanzania – pharmaceuticals, plastics, iron and steel – rose 21.39% to a five-year high of $ 146 million, they were eclipsed by Tanzanian exports of nearly $ 13 million for the first time in decades. But merchandise exports rose 10 percent to $ 6,457.9 million, on the strength of non-traditional exports.
The value of non-traditional exports increased from $ 4,574.9 million to $ 5,567.8 million, with a significant increase in exports of gold, manufactured goods, horticultural products and other exports.
“Gold exports, which accounted for 54.4% of total non-traditional exports, increased by $ 437.5 million to $ 3,028.8 million, the highest level of revenue ever,” said said a Bank of Tanzania report.
This has been attributed to an increase in gold prices in the world market and ongoing government initiatives to reorganize the mining sector.
“The value of manufactured goods increased 36.2% to $ 1.09 billion, while horticultural products increased to $ 324.6 million from $ 194.6 million during the similar period of 2020 “, said the report,” During the period, other exports jumped 73 percent to $ 665.5 million, stemming from a significant increase in exports of rice and beans to neighboring countries.
The Bank of Tanzania reports that the food supply in the country has been stable since the start of fiscal year 2020/2021, as indicated by food stocks held by the National Food Reserves Agency. Inflation has remained low and within limits nationally and regionally, according to the Bank of Tanzania’s July report.
Uganda reported that imports from Tanzania increased by more than 25 percent, attributed to soaring gold sales.
According to the July East Africa Cross-Border Trade Bulletin, Tanzania is feeding the region. After the resolution of the trade dispute between Nairobi and Dodoma following President Samia’s visit in May, maize exports to Kenya increased by 25 percent.
Kenya is still grappling with a return strategy.
Johnson Weru, senior secretary of the State Department for Trade and Enterprise Development, said a meeting scheduled between Tanzanian and Kenyan officials later this month should finalize the balance of trade issues.
There was a 179% increase in exports from Tanzania to Kenya in the last quarter.
John Bosco Kalisa, CEO of the East African Business Council, acknowledged that the business environment in the region has improved.