Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and East Africa Co-operation, Dr Damas Ndumbaro made the statement at the launch of the Tanzania-Uganda business forum which is expected to open-up a number of opportunities for investors from both countries.
“We aim at ensuring good and strong business relationships with our neighboring countries”, Dr Ndumbaro asserted.
The forum according to the Deputy Minister will be held from September 3rd to 5th in Dar es Salaam under the theme: ‘promoting bilateral trade and investment for sustainable development’.
The event will bring together business leaders, policy makers and stakeholders to explore business and investment opportunities in the two East African countries.
He said time has come for the country to move from having strong political relations with its neighboring countries to strong business relations, disclosing that despite having many business opportunities Tanzania and Uganda had mostly enjoyed good political cooperation.
“Tanzania and Uganda have enjoyed political relations since the country was led by the late and former President, Julius Nyerere. There are many investment opportunities in the two countries that needs to be fully tapped”, he noted.
He added that 2015 data indicates that business between the two countries was valued at 178bn/-. The business volume increased in 2018 to 350bn/-.
“We want to see more Tanzanians doing business in Uganda and the vice versa” he said.
The deputy minister also asked investors from both countries to grab opportunities in the three big projects currently under construction including the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), Uganda-Tanzania oil pipeline and the gas pipeline project from Tanzania to Kampala.
Godfrey Simbeye, Executive Director of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) said the main objective of the Uganda-Tanzania business forum is to create an enabling platform for business organisations in both countries.
He said TPSF aims to ensure the development of entrepreneurs in both countries.
“We have had business forums with investors from Rwanda and Kenya and now it’s time for Uganda. The good thing about Ugandans is that they are naturally entrepreneurs, Ugandans are everywhere in the world practicing entrepreneurship activities”, said Simbeye insisting the private sector wants to partner with them.
Dr Aziz Mlima and Richard Kabonero who are high commissioners of Tanzania and Uganda respectively described the forum as the best opportunity for growth of trade between the two countries.
They said the forum will also help investors and policy makers to discuss a wider number of issues affecting trade between the two countries.