#Tanzania pushes for continental trade surge

TANZANIA is pushing for improvement of trade volume within the African continent as part of efforts to utilise opportunities created by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

This will play a part in increasing competitiveness and contributions of the African continent to the global business, as a result of speeding up development at all levels.

The Minister for Investment, Industry and Trade Dr Ashatu Kijaji made the statement yesterday when gracing a stakeholders meeting held to discuss opportunities brought by the AfCFTA.

She expressed concern that, so far, trade within African countries stands at 16 per cent, compared to 52 per cent of Asian countries and 70 per cent that has been attained by European nations.

“Africa contributes 2.6 per cent in the inter-continental trade, this figure is too low given the available resources and opportunities that are yet to be well explored,” she said.

Dr Kijaji called for stakeholders and members of the private sector to come up with ten products that Tanzania will introduce to the AfCFTA, by July 1 this year, for the country to benefit from opportunities that have been created.

She said, as a country, Tanzania has to make better use of the 1.4 billion population of Africa by selling more goods that are in high demand, given the conducive environment that was created by the African Union Commission.

“Tanzania has a large portion of land for farming, we have to make better use of it in producing more and have enough exports to African countries given the permit to sell unlimited volumes of goods and commodities,” she said.

Dr Kijaji urged members of the business community to produce goods that will compete in the global markets.

She commended President Samia Suluhu Hassan for her efforts to open up the country and enhance economic diplomacy with the rest of the world, a move that aims at contributing highly to the economic growth of individuals and country at large.

“President Samia is taking a lot of effort in opening up the country, we have to play well our part to support her initiatives that are purely for national development,” said the minister.

Earlier, the Executive Director of #Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) Gillerd Terry commended the government for its commitment to improving business as well as supporting the AfCFTA.

He said, Tanzania as a country, has all reasons to be part of the AfCFTA as there are plenty of businessmen as well as other opportunities that can be utilised in a way that benefits the country.

“TPSF is fully committed to support the AfCFTA and we are so ready to ensure business men are taking part in utilising the opportunities that have been created,” he said.

For his part, the Executive Director of Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) Leodegar Tenga assured that the private sector will continue educating their members on the number of opportunities that are available for effective utilisation.

He also insisted on members of CTI to ensure they produce goods with high quality for them to compete in the international markets.

#Tanzania submitted the instruments of its ratification of the AfCFTA agreement to the African Union Commission (AUC) in January last year.

Ratifying the AfCFTA agreement showed the readiness of Tanzania to access the market of over 1.4 billion people across the continent. The AfCFTA would foster the free movement of goods, services, and people across borders and help meet the continent’s enormous economic potential.

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