Key partners discuss financing industrialization drive

Key financial institutions’ leaders met to deliberate on the best strategies to spur the country's industrialisation drive.

The Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) and TIB Development Bank that co-hosted the first ever seminar is planning to raise 1.5 billion US dollars (over 3.5tri/-) required in the next seven years to accomplish the Bagamoyo and Kurasini multibillion dollar projects.

EPZA Director General Mr Joseph Simbakalia (pictured) said in Dar es Salaam that the authority's current flag ship project Bagamoyo Special Economic Zone to be built in 9,000 hectares has reached a good developmental stage.

The seminar on the role of financial institutions in the re-development of the industrial sector through the EPZs and SEZs with key focus on resource mobilisation for Bagamoyo Special Economic Zone and Kurasini Logistic Centre projects.

“We are proud of our achievements today because of the close alliance with our partners from both public and private sectors...EPZA envisages more active role of the private sector especially financial institutions in the development of industrial and commercial infrastructure for EPZs and SEZs," said Mr Simbakalia, inviting financial institutions as strategic partners in industrialising the country.

TIB Development Bank's Deputy Managing Director Mr Jaffer Machano whose institution has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with EPZA to arrange and advise on the financing of Bagamoyo SEZ and Kurasini Logistic Centre projects said through Mabibo-based Benjamin William Mkapa SEZ, EPZA has proved the concept of SEZ projects.

“We consider this (Benjamin Mkapa SEZ) as EPZA’s proof of concept…they have already proved the concept and the next move is to replicate it elsewhere,” said Mr Machano, persuading other financial institutions to support the ambitious drive.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Trade Uledi Musa, officiating at the seminar, said although the economy has been steadily growing at an annual rate of seven percent, the national economy has reached a critical stage that needs major socio-economic transformations with high growth rates that can be achieved only through sustainable industrialisation.

"Our national aim is to become semi-industrialised middle income nation with per capita income of 3,000 US dollars by 2025...industrialisation is the means to propel our economy into the orbit of high growth rate of above 10 per cent to create jobs and boost our capacity in trading our manufactured goods," said Mr Musa, commending EPZA and TIB Bank for what he described as 'brilliant joint initiative.'

EPZA Director of Promotion and Facilitation Zawadia Nanyaro told the seminar that investments under the Exports Processing Zones (EPZs) and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) have surpassed the one billion US dollars in the past seven years, with 140 registered companies creating 44,227 jobs for mostly Tanzanians.

She said since EPZA opened doors for business in 2008, the country has received 1.30 billion US dollars (about 3trn/-) in capital investments, which have generated about 1.30 million US dollars (about 3bn/-) in export revenues.

"We have bright future as a country...all that is needed are concerted efforts to make Tanzania the investor destination of choice through construction of the base infrastructure for potential investors," she said.

Giving statistics, Ms Nanyaro said there has been positive response by Tanzanians to invest under EPZ and SEZ schemes, noting that out of the 140 registered projects, Tanzanian owned account for 45 per cent.

Other sources of investments with their percentages in brackets: India (21), China (9) and others (25). EPZA is looking for financial resources to compensate people whose land has been taken for the grand projects as well as developing the base infrastructure like electricity, roads and water supply.

The targeted funding sources include commercial banks, insurance companies, pension funds and issuance of bonds for other members of public to invest.

Under the Bagamoyo SEZ, the historical town is set for massive transformation into modern,vibrant metropolis and business hub for East and Central Africa, with construction of the proposed huge port, airport and other transport infrastructure to support manufacturing as well as export and import activities for Tanzania and other neighbouring landlocked countries.

Bagamoyo SEZ will as well have stand-alone projects including Technology Parks, Research Centers, Educational Zones, Tourism Zones, Commercial Centers and Residential areas.
Source: Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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