Tanzania, Uganda organize business forum to boost trade, investment

DAR ES SALAAM: THE Uganda-Tanzania Business Forum 2024 is expected to uplift the trade volume and investment between the two countries.

The forum will be held in the country’s business capital of Dar es Salam on May 23 and 24 this year in efforts to stimulate investment in manufacturing, logistics, trade, agribusiness, tourism, financial services and extractive sectors including oil and gases as currently the trade volume between Tanzania and Uganda stands at 400 million US dollars (about 1.04tri/-)

The business forum which will bring together participants from the private and public sectors is being organized by the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) and the Ugandan High Commission in Tanzania in collaboration with the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) and its counterpart, Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU).

Speaking at the press conference on Monday in the country’s business capital of Dar es Salaam, TIC’s Executive Director, Mr Gilead Teri said the forum underscores the six phase government’s broad vision of attracting investments which in return can create jobs, stimulate trade, foster transfer of technologies and spur economic growth at large.

Mr Teri said the two countries have a long standing historic diplomatic relation which transcend to mutual economic cooperation encompassing partnership in constructing business infrastructures such as the multibillion East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) and trade through the Dar es Salaam and Tanga ports.

In that regard, he said the business forum is envisioned to stimulate trade and investment as businesspersons and investors from the two countries will use it as the platform for networking and identifying new potential areas for injecting capital.

“The platform will provide an opportunity for investors from Tanzania and Uganda to meet, discuss investment opportunities, exchange information as well as develop joint strategies on how to invest together,” Mr Teri said.

Furthermore, he noted that the business forum will enable investors to familiarize with investment environment available in both countries and forge collaboration in the spirit of the East African Community (EAC).

Detailing the Ugandan Foreign Direct Investment in Tanzania, he said between 2014 and 2023 the country registered 26 projects worth 70 million US dollars (over 181bn/-) of which 13 projects worth 45 million US dollars (117bn/-) fell in the manufacturing sector, 6 projects are in transportation while the rest are in agriculture, commercial building and the services sectors which together created over 1100 jobs.

However, he reminded such economic engagements between Uganda and Tanzania are highly undervalued by the aforementioned figures.

“In my judgement, I think the reality in the ground is far much higher. The statistics are only for investors who came through TIC and registered their investment,” he said.

For his part, Ugandan Deputy High Commissioner in Tanzania, Major General (rtd), Geoffrey Muheesi said the forum presents a unique opportunity for leveraging strength and resources between the two friend countries in bid of unlocking new opportunities for economic prosperity.

He said as of last year calendar the trade volume between the two countries reached almost 400 million US dollars (1.04tri/-) in which Uganda Export was 186 million US dollars (about 482bn/-) and its importation from Tanzania was 192 million US dollars (497bn/-).

Mr Muheezi said it is from that reason the Uganda Tanzania Business Forum 2024 is due to catalyse the bilateral trade relation by eliminating any form suspicion which undermines business growth.

“As we navigate the complexities of the global economy, the objective of this forum remains steadfast to attract investments between Uganda and Tanzania,” he said.

Overtime, he said the two countries can overcome the challenges and seize existing opportunities by harnessing the collective comparative advantages between them.

Revisiting the historical friendship , Mr Muheezi who is also a military veteran appreciated the Tanzania’s support accorded to Uganda for ending military rule under Mr Idd Amin Dada in 1978  during the Kagera War which today is as an indelible mark in over five decades of diplomatic relations.

Representative from the TPSF, Ms Kinanancy Seif who serves in the foundation’s membership department noted that the upcoming forum will involve 350 participants of whom 200 are Tanzanians from both the private and public sectors and others 150 from Uganda.

She said this year business forum is scheduled to have Business to Business (B2B), Government to Business (G2B) and Government to Government (G2G) discussion and presentations.

Ms Seif called upon all members of the private community to make sure they participate at the forum.

More significantly, she noted that the registration is going on well through the TPSF’s website.

Ms Seif said the 2024 forum themed “Enhancing our win-win bilateral relation” is the second event of this kind after that happened in 2019.

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