For the past four years, the Japanese government has granted USD840m (equivalent to over 1.3trn/-) to facilitate the Tanzania’s development.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Guardian in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Japanese Ambassador to Tanzania, Masaki Okada, said the funds were used for General Budget Support (GBS) and development projects.
“Apart from donating to the GBS funds, the money has been used to construct paved trunk roads, building electric networks and telephone circuits as well as supporting power transmission and distribution in the city of Dar es Salaam,” he said.
Okada explained that there has been a noticeable increase in Tanzania’s export volume to Japan in the past 10 years, with products such as precious metals (USD134.1m), coffee beans (USD66m), sesame (USD25m), tobacco (USD10m), and fish fillet (USD10m).
According to him, Tanzania’s imports from Japan has also increase with the five leading categories of automobiles (USD144m), plastic and plastic products (USD46m), steel and steel products (USD43.4m), machines and electrical equipment (USD16m) as well as rubber products (USD4.2m).
“We have witnessed Tanzania’s import and export volumes growing by 248 and 264 percent respectively, with total transacted goods worth USD533.5m.
The move predicts great development in terms of our country’s bilateral economic relationship,” Okada said.
He added: “We have been encouraging more Japanese investors to utilize the investment opportunities provided in Tanzania, since we want them to process their products in the East African country and export them as finished goods. More projects are therefore expected to be launched.”
For his part, Makoto Honda, first secretary and head of Economic Cooperation at the Japanese embassy said: “Currently, we have more than 16 Japanese companies operating in Tanzania.”
Tanzania and Japan established diplomatic relations in 1961, and since then, the two countries have always maintained excellent and cordial friendship. (Full interview, read The Guardian on Friday).