“Most Tanzanians are not risk takers; we need to change our attitude and start taking investment risks within the East African region and abroad,” said the minister.
He was speaking in Dar es Salaam over the weekend during a graduation ceremony for participants of the entrepreneurship programme conducted by ‘Kingdom Leadership Institute Tanzania’ in collaboration with the Regent University, USA.
According to him, English language literacy is also one of the obstacles that hold back Tanzanians when it comes to grabbing investment opportunities in and outside the country.
“We need to capacitate our people with communication skills so they can communicate with their counterparts in foreign countries. Foreign community requires small and medium scale entrepreneurs (SMEs) to be fluent in English language,” he added.
He added that President Samia Suluhu Hassan has been insisting on improving the country’s business and investment environment, hence the need for the business community to take advantage of the conducive investment climate to establish projects.
“Risk taking is important when it comes to competing. We need Tanzanians who are willing to go and invest in other countries,” said Prof Mkumbo.
Minister Mkumbo promised to consult the ministry of agriculture on possibilities of Tanzanians to directly export maize to South Sudan instead of selling the grains to Kenyans who finally sell them in South Sudan.
Prof Mkumbo underscored the need to bridge the skills gap among graduates, saying most of them lack basic technical skills to prove their professional competences.
He added: “We love Kiswahili and we are going to embrace it forever but English is important to enable Tanzanians to communicate with foreigners. Tanzanians, especially traders need to be fluent in both languages to be able to compete globally.”
Recently, when addressing journalists and her host President Uhuru Kenyatta, President Samia said Tanzanians are lagging far behind in the investment portfolio of the neighboring country compared to the vice in the country’s economy.
“Kenya is the fifth country among the top ten countries invested in Tanzania at the global level but the first one in the East African Community (EAC). It has so far invested in 513 projects worth U$1.70billion generating 51,000 employment opportunities to locals;
The volume of trade is far ahead of Tanzania’s investment to Kenya that stands at only 30 companies with projects worth K19.30billion offering 2,640 employments opportunities for the Kenyans,” said Samia.
She however asserted that the trade balance between the two countries in the five past years stood at U$450million as the two top leaders embark on new initiatives of increasing trade volumes and investments in either country.