The challenge of adding value  in Tanzania’s mining sector

27Mar 2019
The Guardian
The challenge of adding value  in Tanzania’s mining sector

In 2017    Tanzania announced an immediate ban on the export of concentrates and ores of all metallic minerals.

The ban is intended to ensure that “value addition activities,” such as smelting and refining, are undertaken within Tanzania, with the stated objectives of increasing revenue generation, employment creation and technology transfer. By announcing such a policy, Tanzania joins several other resource-rich countries, including Indonesia and Mongolia, which are considering or implementing policies that encourage domestic mineral “beneficiation”– the processing of mined output into a product of higher value – as an alternative to heavy reliance on the export of unprocessed minerals.

The Tanzanian government can potentially achieve increased economic benefits through a beneficiation policy. Smelting and refining facilities would provide some employment opportunities, and there could be spillover benefits for related industries through knowledge and technological transfer. In-country processing could also generate additional government revenue in the long term via the sale of a higher-value product and lower transport costs. (Refined products weigh less and take up less space than raw commodities.) It could also lower the risk of tax avoidance. Unlike refined products, the mineral content of ores and concentrates can vary considerably, increasing the risk that companies might underreport the value of their exports. Recent government comments suggest suspected tax avoidance is one of the primary reasons for the ban—though the risk of misreporting is likely to be lower now that the Tanzania Minerals Audit Agency (TMAA) can effectively assay samples.

Tanzania should   process its products like minerals and various products before exporting them so as to get good prices and therefore to increase the contribution of the mining sector to boost the GDP  - monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a period of time, often annually .

Also the tourism sector and the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) if they will promote tourist attractions aggressively it will help the economy to grow and alleviate poverty  in the country.

This was said by the managing director of Karibu Arts and Crafts Ltd, OriginesUiso in an exclusive interview in Dar es Salaam recently.

“Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) is promoting tourist attractions in various countries. If we will aggressively promote the tourism sector abroad and if we will utilise well the new aircraft  of the Air Tanzania Corporation Ltd (ATCL). Our Country is not poor, it has tremendous wealth, in the tourism sector  we should   use well our new aircraft  of ATCL and use well the mineral wealth we have in the country.” If this country will use well these   three sectors  , it will definitely be a rich country,” noted Uiso.

“I have been very much impressed by the decision of President  John Magufuli to prevent the export of sand and gold which were in the containers. Our country has a tremendous wealth of gold and other minerals like Tanzanite when it is exported it makes beads and rings.


“We have participated in the PTA trade fair and Tanzania was the first, we also participated in Kenya trade fair, we were also the first. We were invited  by TANTRADE to showcase our art works in the international trade fair. We showed the work of art which   attracted many other countries.

“Internationally the work of art has not been utilised fully, be it making pots-arts locally and internationally is not yet utilised fully in stimulating sustainable economic growth and development. I started this business of exhibiting work of art in 1972 and since then I received cooperation from the Small Industries Development Organisation (SIDO) to reach out to the artists who are living in the villages. That year before the former president Julius Kambarage Nyerere retired, he nominated me to be in the Export Promotion Commission,” he said.

Since 1978 when I started to travel  to the European countries, I  receined cooperation from the embassies of Tanzania in those countries. I visited them with the aim of   inviting them to the trade fair which exhibited the country’s  work of art.


“I worked in collaboration with institutions such as TANTRADE, BASATA, SIDO and TASUBA. Due to the fact that we have low production capacity to meet the order of customers, we fail to enter into the international markets. Until when we will have  the good capacity of meeting orders to the international markets, that is when we will enter into that market globally.

“I have written to the Prime Minister saying art is an industry, it can contribute to poverty reduction and enable art to have big production capacity and be able to enter into the international markets. We can use our art work like Makonde carvings which are available here in Tanzania. Our art work is recognised internationally and its origin is here in Tanzania,” he said.

“We have  challenges of packaging materials and promotion of work of art, there is a market and to enter that market is possible. If BASATA or SIDO could have supervised the issue of quality production   it will be easy to sell   art work abroad. The country which has developed   work of arts in the East African community .   CBI experts when they visited Kenya they taught them arts.

Government institutions and ministry should cooperate with artists. The main challenge is that big institutions do not invite buyers and find markets.

“I have a buyer of work of art from 1958, I met with one Japanese during the  Expo 70. He went there and was attracted and wanted to introduce  work  of arts    in Japan as well,” he said.

“Art work has a market in the United States. I have invited the managing director of TTB to visit my work of art because it has a potential to transform the Tanzanian economy if we will invite tourists to visit  my Gallery. It will help to increase the national income.

“We need institutions like TTB to put this Gallery as a tourist attraction. Makonde work of art contributes 2 per cent to the national economy, while art has a huge contribution to the economy. TTB should promote this art as a tourist attraction. The education which is provided to tourists should promote the work of art. For you to increase the value of your art, you must promote it. TTB should promote this art by educating the tourists on the importance of visiting this Gallery and other work of art so as to buy them and therefore help to increase their incomes and contribute to the national economic development.






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