Tanzania’s ‘Industrialised Nation’ Dream Must Come True

Tanzania fish processors
Musoma Fisheries packing plant in Tanzania

The government of Tanzania has announced ambitious plans to achieve sustainable economic growth by setting up 800 industries before 2015.

According to the Minister for Trade and Industry, Dr Cyril Chami, the move is in line with the government’s resolve to become an industrialized nation. The minister has reported that the ministry has issued 522 licences to new developers, 189 out of them being heavy industries in different parts of the country.

This means that the country will graduate from its current status as among the least developed countries (LDCs) if everything will go according to plan. Addressing traders and industrialists in Moshi at the weekend, the minister lashed out at “prophets of doom” who have been blaming the government for its privatisation policy, stressing that the move has been healthy for the country’s sustainable economic growth.

The minister’s optimism is based on the fact that Tanzania is now in the process of mining coal and iron in Liganga and Mchuchuma in partnership with China. In September last year, China’s Sichuan Hongda Company Limited signed a 3.0 billion US dollars deal with Tanzania to mine coal and iron ore in the area.

The investment involves construction of the Mchuchuma integrated coal mine, a 600-megawatt (MW) thermal power station and the Liganga iron ore mine. The projects are regarded to be the single-biggest investment deal in East Africa. Statistics by the Ministry of Industry and trade show that the country has 10, 237 light industries. Out of 74 industries operating after privatisation, 42 were performing above their installed capacity.

Dr Chami said 15 industries were not operating for various reasons, that include lack of capital and skilled management teams. Other industrialization projects including the Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) are going on well. For the past five years, the number of companies had risen to 54, with 710 million US dollars in capital investment, bringing in 410 million US dollars in export turnover.

The companies had created 15,100 jobs and in 2009, contributed 21 per cent exports of manufactured goods and 3 per cent of total exports. It’s now upon all stakeholders to work hand in hand with the government to make this dream come true.