What Harris visit means for investment, business

THE US Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit is expected to create further business and investment avenues for Tanzania.

The VP is coming at a time when data shows that Tanzania’s exports to the US increased by 67.5 per cent to 164 million US dollars last year, and from 97.9 million US dollars in the previous year, according to the US Census Bureau.

Meanwhile, US exports to Tanzania slightly went down by almost 8.0 per cent to 260.1million US dollars last year, from 282.6million US dollars in 2021.

The University of Dar es Salaam, Business School, Head of Finance Department, Dr Tobias Swai anticipated that the visit will create avenues for new collaborations for both ends.

“Such high-level visits are always accompanied with new policies and trade agreements,” Dr Swai told ‘Daily News’ yesterday, adding “It is anticipated that the US may have a new agenda for investment and trade with Africa”.

The senior lecturer further said that given Tanzania’s current strategy on foreign investment and investment in general, “such a visit will have a positive impact on investment and trade for both countries.”

The US VP, who is scheduled to jet in today, wrote on her twitter that she was looking forward to being in Africa – first Ghana, then to Tanzania and Zambia.

“I look forward to meeting with leaders, young people, and entrepreneurs as we work together to invest in innovation and ingenuity across the continent,” she said.

Alpha Capital Head of Research and Financial Analytics, Imani Muhingo, said the visit is projected to boost investments in Tanzania, strengthen the long-time relationship between the two countries, and amplify trade relations.

“A visit from the VP of the wealthiest nation in the world is a vote of confidence, and puts Tanzania in conversation among global news outlets, raising the country’s visibility, and a boost to tourism,” Mr Muhingo said.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation, the US is one of the countries that contribute significantly to Foreign Investments (FDIs).

The ministry data showed that FDIs from US total 266 projects registered by the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) and worth 4.778billion US dollars to date.

The tourism sector leads the US investment in the country with a total of 68 projects, followed by the manufacturing sector with 66 projects. These projects have created about 54,584 jobs for Tanzanians.

Dr Hildebrand Shayo, an economist-cum-investment banker said that Ms Harris’s visit to Tanzania is timely and confirms to the Tanzanian people that the US is set to further continue the long and important relationship and friendship of the two countries.

“This visit undoubtedly will cement and promote economic growth between these two nations,” Dr Shayo said.

The US Census Bureau further showed that in January the trade was in favour of Tanzania after exporting 24.8 million US dollars to US against 18.1million US dollars, signifying a good trend ahead.

“There are markets for a wide variety of US products and services and strong economic fundamentals make Tanzania a market worth investigating and pursuing,” the website of the US Embassy in Tanzania showed.

On agriculture trade, Zirack Andrew, National Coordinator, Tanzania Pulses Network (TPN) said the country is already enjoying a duty-free market with the US under The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

“Though, we still expect that [Ms Harris] is travelling with investors in agriculture’s value addition and inputs supply…this is our expectation,” Mr Andrew said.

Last December, the top exports of US to Tanzania were vaccines, blood, antisera, toxins and cultures, tractors, stone processing machines, poultry meat and packaged medicaments whereas during the same period, the top imports were precious stones, non-knit women’s suits, non-knit men’s suits, coffee, and knit t-shirts.

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