Support Tanzania SMEs, foundation urges China

The Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) has urged the Chinese government to provide direct support to Tanzanian small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The support, according to TPSF, should be provided in areas such as leather, textile, agro processing, packaging, information and communication technology, agriculture and manufacturing.

Speaking during the China-Tanzania Business Forum, TPSF executive director Godfrey Simbeye said Tanzanian entrepreneurs lacked skills in various sectors.

“Despite being the third largest livestock-keeping country in Africa, Tanzania has very few leather processing plants. This signifies that there are problems which need to be addressed for the locals to participate in processing,” said Mr Simbeye.

According to him, the local private sector does not produce enough to contribute to the reduction in the trade deficit which in 2013 stood at $4.9 billion.

“Our message to our friends from China is that we should work together to support Tanzania to move from exports of raw materials to exports based on value-added goods,” he said.

He urged Chinese businesses to invest more in industries that would help add value to agricultural produce for export for higher gains.

The chairman of China-Africa Business Council in Tanzania, Mr Xian Ding, said the Chinese government was trying its best to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Tanzania.

“The growth momentum in investment can’t do without the brotherhood between our two countries,” said Mr Xian.

Trade figures do not portray a positive image about Tanzania’s private sector.

In 2013 trade deficit on import and export of products and services was $4.9 billion.

“I call upon the businesspeople from our two countries to explore and work out plans for suitable collaborations in various fields, you have the technologies, we have resources, if we work in partnership we shall both benefit,” said Mr Simbaye.

More than 40 businesspeople attended the one-day China-Tanzania business forum here yesterday.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Veneranda Sumila, from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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