Tanzania has been challenged to create better conditions and policies that will attract more investments through a win-win situation and benefit the indigenous people.
Speaking during a tête-à-tête with Dr Reginald Mengi, the IPP Executive Chairman, the South Korean ambassador to Tanzania Chung Il said Tanzania’s economic potentials should benefit her people, adding that the country possesses lots of economic resources.
“…if you are to succeed you need to put more efforts in attracting more foreign investments…but you should make sure policies are in place through which Tanzanians will also benefit from the investments and this is done trough a win-win situation, ” he said.
Citing his country, Ambassador Il explained that after the Korean War his country had nothing as everything had been destroyed. Nevertheless, the country’s leadership decided to create a favourable environment that welcomed investors.
“Before investing, the investors want to be sure of their money; they want to put the cash in a safe place which in turn will generate profit…and you can make sure 65 percent of the profits remain in the country,” he said.
According to him, the country can retain the profit by making sure the investors produce their goods within the country…“We live in a competitive world; so let them produce exceptional products that will compete in the world market.”
He added: “Producing within the country, means creating more job opportunities as well as increasing foreign earnings which in turn will grow the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and benefit your people, since investments need to impact the society.”
It is said that the total world trade volume of South Korea, currently reaches to US$1trilion, yet with Tanzania; the country transacts only US$130m annually.
According to media reports, for the past 5 years, South Korea has disbursed financial aid worth of UD$330m of which US$280m is in loans with interest rate of 0.01 to be repaid in 40 years while the remainder is a grant.
According to the envoy, Tanzania has a lot of potentials that are yet to be exploited, especially in agriculture as well as in the agri-business sector,saying: “Kilimo Kwanza should be successful for the country’s development... people in villages should feel such development positively in their daily lives.”
The projects include the rehabilitation of irrigation facilities, modernisation of farms, upgrading agricultural processing and vocational training centres and the improvement of agricultural productivity.
Other initiatives are the improvement of agricultural crop production techniques, upgrading
the agricultural engineering training centre, pilot project for agriculture industry development, drinking water development and water resources development.
The South Korean diplomat said that it will be hard for Tanzania to realise its economic potentials if the country fails to invest heavily in education, as it is through the sector that experts are born.
The ambassador said that it was investments in education that uplifted his country from being a developing nation to be among the developed ones.
Therefore said he: “…since Tanzania is a promising investment destination, my priority is to connect Tanzanian businesses with their counterparts in South Korea, so as to instigate investments and thus strengthen economic relations between the two countries.”
For his part, Mengi said: “…I am not against attracting foreign investors, but if we are to empower Tanzanians to own the country’s economy, then we need to encourage more joint venture investments.”
He added: “…the ventures will also help in technological transfer…you have been giving us some aid which is good, but this is as if you are giving us fish…we want you to teach us how to fish…”
The IPP Chairman stressed the need for Tanzania to learn from South Korea as in the 60s both countries were at the same level of economic development.
According to him, Tanzanians would be happy if South Korean businesses are being established in Tanzania.
“…we want them to come and establish their industrial units in Tanzania…let us say if it is an automobile let it be assembled here, let one component of it be a Tanzanian product…manufactured here (in Tanzania) as by so doing you create more employment,” he said.
Furthermore, Mengi applauded South Korea’s effort at combating corruption saying: “…I sometime wonder where you got the guts. We have been reading of the business tycoons as well as politicians being sentenced for their corruption deeds,” he said, adding: “I think Tanzania also needs to learn from you…you have done a commendable job on tackling corrupt leaders…I know corruption is still there, but at least you have done something to show that you don’t entertain it.”
The Republic of Korea established diplomatic relations with Tanzania in 1992. Cooperation between the two countries has been growing steadily since then.