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WANT TO GAUGE SMEs SUCCESS? TAKE A LOOK AT SMALL INDUSTRIES

The development of small industries provides a suitable barometer that can be used to measure how Tanzania has performed in boosting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). This is because MSMEs in the industrial sector have received a lot of attention from policy makers and other stakeholders in the years since independence. MSMEs exist in almost all economic sectors in Tanzania to the effect that they compose more than 90 per cent of all businesses in the country, both formal and informal. And the government tries to focus on the entire SMEs sector but due to historical factors it is the industrial sector whose SMEs have received much care and attention to the extent that even the respective policy carries the word “Industries” in its name. The policy document governing SMEs is entitled the Small and Medium Industries and Enterprises Policy (SME Policy). It was created in 2003 and is in the final stages of review. It all started with the creation of the Small Industries Development Organisation (Sido) in 1973 to spearhead the modernisation and formalisation of micro, small and medium industries and businesses that had been using primitive methods of production for centuries. The organisation has offices throughout Tanzania and is a household fixture among small and medium entrepreneurs, mainly in the industrial sector in the country. Various analysts credit Sido with facilitating the creation and development of more than 100,000 small manufacturing and processing units, creating about 1 million employment opportunities. The organisation has also been at the forefront in nurturing small entrepreneurs, helping them acquire better technology and finding markets. The establishment of Sido and the layout of its function was based on a sound industrial strategy that recognised early on after the adoption of the Arusha Declaration, that there can be no industrialisation in Tanzania without developing the micro, small and medium industries. That Sido has succeeded in many of its functions is clear from positive verdicts in various studies. But the fact that Tanzania is not yet an industrialised economy and is a net importer of industrial goods in all categories shows the limits of Sido’s success. It is like in wars where fighting units can win battles but lose the war at the end. The reasons for failure in industrialisation, despite some ring-fenced positive developments, have been well analysed in various academic undertakings and newspaper articles for years. The truth, however, is that Tanzania would not lag behind in industrialisation had the micro, small and medium industries been growing organically over the years to become large and complex manufacturing undertakings that Tanzania needs to compete in the global industrial goods market. The fact is that despite the attention given by authorities most MSMEs in the industrial sector have remained stagnant, not growing or expanding activities in any meaningful way. The situation is, therefore, worse for other sectors whose MSMEs have received less policy attention over the years. Any discussion over what ails SMEs in Tanzania and on what should be done to correct the situation should take into account the context of the development of SMEs in the industrial sector. The point of departure in such discussions and deliberations should be the failure by the micro and small industries to integrate with the general economy as well as the seeming incapacity to interconnect with other key sectors such as agriculture to be able to grow. In fact the failure of the various sectors in the Tanzanian economy to link up with one another for mutual benefits is one of the largest puzzles, that if solved could help unleash the MSMEs potential. But as of now the booming of one sector in the economy has not been able to produce much activity in other related sectors. And this is true even in the services category of the economy. It happened in the mining and tourism sectors. It happened in the telecommunications sector and transit trade. Latest Sido activities In the 2021/22 financial year Sido started building industrial sheds for small processing industries in the cotton, cashewnut and edible oil value chains, according to the budget speech of the ministry of Investments, Industries and Trade. The construction is at various stages. Also Sido continued with provision of new technologies to small industries through its Technology Development Centres (TDC) throughout the country. The organisation worked to improve the Kilimanjaro and Mbeya technology centres. Seven TCDs in Kigoma, Mbeya, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Iringa, Shinyanga and Lindi have produced 313 machines and 1,014 spare parts that were sold to entrepreneurs. The centres continue with their other functions of technology development and provision of technical services to small and medium industries in urban and rural areas in accordance with the one-district-one-product strategy as well as the market opportunities that emerge. In the same financial year Sido offered training to 15,176 and consultancy to 11,624 entrepreneurs in areas of business development and industrial production activities. As far as marketing was concerned Sido organised the Sido trade fair in Kasulu, Kigoma, that brought together 935 entrepreneurs and 38 institutions. Total sales of Sh800 million were recorded during the Kasulu fair. Sido also facilitates the participation of small entrepreneurs in the Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair. As far as financing is concerned the government disbursed Sh4.6 billion loans to 2,166 entrepreneurs in the 2021/22 financial year. About 47 per cent of the loan recipients were women. Through its SME credit guarantee scheme (Sido SME –CGS) loans worth Sh110 were disbursed in Singida and Kigoma regions.

MWANZA HOSTS FINANCIAL WEEK FAIR

The National Financial Week Services kicked off on Monday with public education and awareness being the top priority during the celebrations. The Ministry of Finance and Planning, Commissioner for Finance Sector, Mr Charles Mwamwaja, told the reporters over the weekend that financial-related issues, including customer rights, are part of public education to be offered in a week event, which it’s climax on Saturday. “The public awareness education will mostly centre on customers’ rights from financial information, loans conditions to interest rates and contract understanding prior to the signing, ” he said. The idea is to increase customer awareness that they can challenge the loan document if borrowers are not satisfied since it was not Bible’s Ten Commandments. “However,” the commissioner said, “the rights are usually accompanied by customer’ obligations” including paying the debt on time. The week will have three hours of classes for deep financial management conducted every morning or afternoon. The classes have the capacity of accommodating 100 students a day. “The topics are life after retirement, loans access and conditions, and financial management for individuals,” Finance Development Sector, Assistant Commissioner Ms Dionisia Mjema said. Some Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF) beneficiaries will air their testimony on how they have been improving their lives, through capital accumulation and investment programmes. TASAF Representative, Mr Victor Mangai, said some of the beneficiaries will share their financial management knowledge taught by the fund. The Manager for Insurance Market Development in Tanzania Insurance Regulatory Authority (TIRA), Ms Stella Rutaguza, said they will use the event for public education on insurance issues and as a platform to receive new applications for insurance firms. “They will also be instantly registered,” she said.

JICA TRAINS 4000 IN MODERN AGRI-SKILL

A Total of 4,000 farmers have benefited from the Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion (SHEP) agricultural projects coordinated by the JICA Alumni Tanzania Association (JATA) in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). This was stated over the weekend by the Chairman of JATA Mr Gregory Mlay during a special workshop to discuss the development resulting from the funding of the implementation of the projects under JATA held in Moshi, Kilimanjaro. According to him, JATA is a collection of Tanzania’s Japan Alumni who are experts in different fields of their respective professions. He said SHEP is an extension approach innovated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which he said is implemented in 23 African countries and that in Tanzania it is implemented through TANSHEP project under the management of the ministry of agriculture and the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Governments (PO-RALG). “In this project themed Anzia Sokoni Malizia Shambani kwa Kipato Zaidi (Start from Looking Market Needs and Grow Crops for Better Income) starts by empowering farmers to conduct market surveys whereby upon realization of market requirements they (farmers) can make strategic production including the selection of crops as well as been subject to harvest timings and therefore get good profits”, he noted. The project also enables farmers to change their production patterns according to market needs as well as adopt the farmer-to-farmer extension approach to share technical knowledge among themselves. “TANSHEP is a program which is implemented with the intention to transform the agricultural sector towards higher productivity, commercialization level and smallholder farmers’ income for improved livelihoods, food security and nutrition,” he said. Speaking during the occasion, the Moshi District Council Agricultural officer Mr Fridolin Mpanda said the council was among the Local Governments Authorities (LGAs) in the country that implemented TANSHEP project from July 2019 to June 2021. One of the beneficiaries of the TANSHEP project Mr Eldavis Elihuruma from the Rauya village-based Umoja Wetu Group, in Moshi said education on modern agriculture and market surveys before cultivating crops changed the group’s agricultural programmes for the better. “We can now create a crop calendar which will enable us to harvest crops at a time when there are the market demands something which enables us of reliable clients and good incomes,” Mr Elihuruma said. Kilimanjaro Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS) Mr Willy Machumu commended JATA for sharing their knowledge with their local colleagues. Mr Machumu, who was representing Kilimanjaro Regional Secretariat, Mr Emmanuel Lema, said JATA’s ideas complimented the government’s efforts of improving the small-holder farmers countrywide.

GOVT HAILS MOST COMPLIANT TAXPAYERS

The government has commended companies and individuals for being tax compliant pledging to continue creating better environment for remitting their taxes without being forced for implementing the country’s development agenda. Making the revelation in Dar es Salaam in event to recognise and celebrate most compliant businesses and individual taxpayers in remitting their taxes, where NMB Bank became the overall winner of the 2022 Tax Payers’ Awards organised by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) on Friday last week, the Minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology, Mr Nape Nnauye further said: “The government recognises the role of tax payers in the country’s development process. Without these taxes, the government will not be in the position to implement development projects in full-scale.” Apart from scooping the overall national most compliant Tax Payer Award, NMB also won the most compliant and largest Tax Payer in the banking sector and emerged the 2nd runner-up in Large Tax Payers category across all sectors. He added “So, as we celebrate today, I would like to take this opportunity to thank companies and individuals for being tax compliant.” He noted that the taxes collected during the financial year enabled the government to implement various development projects across the country. Mr Nape, during the event commended TRA for realising the set tax collection targets and urged the authority to continue building mutual relationships with tax payers that will enhance voluntary tax payment. “Collecting 22.28tri/- in taxes being a 99 percentage of 22.4tri/- target is a very big achievement. I commend TRA’s management and staff for this achievement,” Nnauye said. Equally, he reiterated government’s commitment to continue improving the business environment across the country to enable both local and foreign businesses and businessmen to operate in a more conducive environment. Speaking shortly after receiving the awards, the NMB Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ms Ruth Zaipuna said the awards validate the bank’s commitment to tax compliance and contribution to the social and economic development of Tanzania. The award, she said, had been made possible by the company’s leadership vision and employees’ continued commitment to uphold best in class operating standards. “Regulatory compliance is a core pillar of our corporate governance, and these awards reinforce our drive to continue upholding compliance as part of our five values at NMB. These awards continue to prove that as Tanzania’s largest bank – our success translates to the prosperity of millions of our fellow Tanzanians. I thank our employees for being diligent to their work and for their unwavering commitment to fuel the growth of our bank and the nation at large,” she said. She added, “As we celebrate this important recognition, we will continue subscribing to be the best in class operating and compliance standards driven in all our areas of work, as we seek to increase our contribution to the economy and solidify our position as a true partner in supporting Tanzania’s development agenda.” Between 2018 and 2021, NMB helped the authorities to make collections worth 9.6tri/-. The bank was also a top taxpayer remitting more than 1.2tri/- to national coffers in seven years.

KNAUF TANZANIA UNVEILS NEW EXPANSION PLAN

The manufacturer of construction materials, Knauf Gypsum Tanzania plans to invest further 115bn/-, thanks to the country’s conducive business environment that has enabled steady growth in the local construction sector. Knauf East Africa Regional Director Ilse Boshoff said in Dar es Salaam at the weekend that with the new expansion at Mkuranga, Knauf Tanzania will be the largest production facility in East and Sub-Sahara Africa and production capacity will triple the size of the current capacity (40.5 million square meters a year) and at the same time the export volume will increase to 170 per cent. “Mkuranga plant current capacity is 15 million square meters a year. We further expect to expand our capacity to 43 million square meters a year in 2025 with an investment of 115bn/-,” she said while unveiling the expansion plan. She said the company with German origin has so far invested over 163bn/- in the production of building materials such as gypsum boards, moisture resistant boards, fire resistant boards, skimming plasters and metal profiles. She said that the company was grateful to the government, customers and industrial players for making Knauf investment journey exciting in Tanzania. “Knauf Tanzania is moving from strength to strength. Our story begun in 2014 when we opened a representative office here in Tanzania and later on Knauf Gypsum Tanzania in 2015. The process of acquiring assets for a local gypsum board production company began in 2015 and became a local Tanzanian producer in 2017,” she said. The Regional Director said in 2018 construction of the state-of-the-art production plant in Mkuranga commenced and in 2020, it was commissioned with production capacity of 15Mio.m2/year. She said the Euro project was self-financed through capital injection by the German Knauf International GmbH. Knauf Customer, Mr Dickson Mtekere from Dar es Salaam based Shananga Group Limited thanked the company for organising the event which served as a networking opportunity as well as a platform to know company’s plans. “I’m grateful to Knauf Tanzania for organising this event which apart from networking has also provided to us as partners, useful insights about the company. We have been informed that the company has employed over 160 Tanzanians directly and many other across its business value chain. The expansion of Mkuranga plant will create new employment and business opportunities and the government will get more revenue through various taxes. This is recommendable investment which benefits all of us,” he said.

TCB COLLECTS 100bn/- GOVT REVENUES AT TPA BRANCH

Tanzania Commercial Bank (TCB) has officially launched its TPA branch, which is housed in the port authority head office in the vicinity of Dar es Salaam harbour to mostly facilitate the collection of maritime government revenue. TBC Chief Executive Officer Sabasaba Moshingi said during the launch of the branch 24 hours/seven that it’s strategically located at the TPA One-Stop Centre along Samora Drive specifically for tax collection but will also offer other top-notch services of the lender. “The TPA branch is one of the two TCB outlets currently operating 24 hours every day throughout the year. It is strategically located to facilitate collection of government revenues at the Dar es Salaam Port, including tax remittances,” the seasoned banker stated. According to him, the branch has been a success worthy investment that has so far paid off handsomely. Since opening for business about two years ago, the TCB TPA Branch has facilitated the collection of government revenues amounting to nearly 100bn/-. CEO Moshingi said so far the branch has managed to collect government revenues worth 57bn/- in local currency and 18 million US dollars in foreign exchange. Briefing Mr Moshingi before he graced the official opening event, the TPA Branch Manager, Ms Anastela Kabudi, said that currently local currency monthly collections average between 1.5bn/- and 3bn/-. She said on average the monthly forex revenue collections amount to over 500,000 US dollars. Mr Moshingi said the 24/7 operational strategy seeks to enable TCB clients operating at the country’s prime port to easily access its services and conveniently make government payments throughout the day. Another 24 hours TCB branch is located at the Julius Nyerere International Airport. The TPA branch is also a financial inclusion investment, which Mr Moshingi said is being used to equally serve other enterprises and communities around it. Currently, TCB has 82 branches that are supported by over 3,000 agents and 84 own ATMs as well as the 350 of the Umoja Switch Network.

FIRST AGRITECH FAIR KICKS OFF MONDAY

Agritech East Africa Agricultural exhibition is staging to attract some 100 exhibitors to showcase their products in a three-day event to be held in Dar es Salaam next Monday. The Agritech fair, the first with global touch, aims at sharing knowledge on agricultural products including the producing and packaging of food products using advanced technology. According to the organiser, Thomas James, they envisage that some 5000 stakeholders and other viewers to visit pavilions of exhibitors from Italy, India, UK, Nigeria and Tanzania in the three-day fair. He said the fair is staged in the country due to its geographic location since Dar port is the gateway of various land-linked countries. The exhibitors will showcase some agri-related equipment, machinery, and also a side-line for agri meetings. Also, the show will bring together various agricultural experts who will share advanced agricultural knowledge at this age of digital technology application in the sector. The fair is organised in collaboration with the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce (TWCC), Tanzania Chamber of Commerce (TCCIA), Agriculture Council of Tanzania (ACT), Tanzania Industries (CTI), and TANEXA Rice Council of Tanzania (RCT). Also those who played a key part were Tanzania government through the Ministry for Agriculture as well as the High Commission of India in XXX, the Tanzania Trade Development Authority (Tantrade) and other development partners. Tantrade Executive Director, Mohammed Tajiri, promised to work closely with the Agritech event organisers in making the exhibition successful as the first time the country to have a large international agricultural exhibition. TWCC representative Cresensia Mbunda challenged women entrepreneurs to visit the fair to acquire knowledge on better methods of producing better package materials.

KAGERA AGRONOMISTS TO LEARN BANANA PRODUCTION IN ESWATINI

Authorities in Kagera Region will soon dispatch a team of agronomists to Eswatini to acquire skills on learn how Tanzania can improve the crop production. Kagera Regional Commissioner (RC), Mr Albert Chalamila said that for many decades residents in the region have been depending on bananas as their main food crop, and thus Tanzania has a chance to learn from Eswatini that is one of the major banana producing countries in South of the Sahara. “We are finalizing plans to dispatch a team of agronomists to Eswatini that is one of the major banana producing countries in South of the Sahara, especially to learn modern technologies of improving productivity,” he said. Equally, he appealed to residents in the area to diversify bananas as an alternative cash crop to the traditional coffee. Elaborating, he said due to its geographical location, Kagera Region could benefit by exporting bananas to other East African Community (EAC) members. Kagera region shares common borders with four EAC nations-Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Kenya across Lake Victoria. The region enjoys a favourable weather pattern with average temperature of 26.02 degree Centigrade and annual rainfall ranging between 880-1,100 mm during months of September to January and March to May. The agricultural sector plays a crucial role in the rehabilitation process of the country’s economy. Exploration of fertile areas and conducting research on what types of crops can be produced in such areas for optimum production is the only way of achieving food self-sufficiency and earning substantial foreign exchange.

SAMIA VISIT ‘UNLOCKED $150 MILLION CHINA AVOCADO MARKET’

President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s state visit to China will greatly boost Tanzania’s multi-million-dollar horticulture industry, an agri-business expert and key player says. Analysing the visit, Taha Group chief executive officer Jacqueline Mkindi said the trip had in essence unlocked the nearly $150 million Chinese avocado market, offering a ray of hope for thousands of growers in Tanzania. President Hassan’s diplomatic engagement with her Chinese counterpart, Mr Xi Jinping, during her state visit saw Tanzania and China sign a protocol on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures to allow Tanzanian-grown avocados to access the Chinese market. “I’m grateful and proud of our President for her diplomatic prowess that led to the opening up of the avocado market in the world’s most populous nation, which has 1.4 billion people after four years of our futile struggles,” Ms Mkindi said. The struggle to unlock the Chinese market started in 2018 when Taha discovered its potential, and appealed to the government to use diplomatic channels to ease the stringent SPS measures that prevented local avocados from accessing the lucrative market. “Thousands of avocado growers in the country are currently counting their blessings, thanks to President Samia’s state visit, and they will soon raise their glasses to toast windfall profits as they are sure to cash in on the increasing demand for avocados in China,” the Taha chief added. Official data shows that in 2021 China imported 59.61 million tonnes of avocados valued at $149 million, owing to China’s soaring appetite for the fruit driven by demand from its burgeoning health-conscious middle-class that has made the “butter fruit” — unheard of a few years ago — the country’s star performer in the imported fruit market. Read: Tanzania to build Sh3 billion avocado processing plants Estimates indicate that China’s avocado import value would surge to $174 million per annum by 2026, offering Tanzania a huge opportunity to significantly boost its export of avocados as well as other horticultural produce. Ms Mkindi said the Head of the State’s move is a big boost to the national strategy seeks to spur the horticulture industry to earn the economy $2 billion per annum and create jobs for Tanzanian women and youth along the entire value chain come 2030. Taha CEO noted that the Chinese market would stimulate avocado production in Tanzania by both small and large-scale farmers, thus boosting incomes at household levels as well as increasing investment in agro-processing. Tanzania’s annual avocado exports currently stand at around 12,000 tones worth nearly $30 million. However, Ms Mkindi said by 2026 the country envisages exporting virtually 20,000 tonnes that will bring in about $50 million annually. Tanzania produces an average of 47,000 tonnes of exportable avocados annually, of which slightly over 12,000 metric tones are exported. Ms Mkindi said that the sky’s the limit for Tanzania to flood the Chinese avocado market, owing to its competitive advantage of prevailing direct ship plying between the two countries, making it much quicker to export than from Chile, Peru and Mexico. “A signed bilateral trade deal will keep the shelves of China’s supermarkets stocked with our butter fruits and in return, bring foreign currency to our economy, create jobs for youth and women in the value chain as well as offer investors assurance of returns,” she said. The pact will help Tanzania’s avocados fetch good prices while reducing overdependence on the EU and Gulf countries’ markets, which are already flooded with supply from the major producing countries. A kilogramme of avocados in China fetches around $8 compared to $6 that offered by most European markets for the same quantity. Also Read: Tanzania’s avocados fetch Sh10,000 apiece in Belgium Tanzania the third-largest producer in Africa after South Africa and Kenya is the 19th country in the world. However, Tanzania’s avocado industry is the fastest-growing subsector in the horticultural industry, with production projected to double in the next three years due to suitable land.

VODACOM, TBL SHINES ON DSE IN FIRST 9 MONTHS

Vodacom Tanzania and Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL) collectively accounted for 28 per cent of total equity turnover realised on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) for the first nine months this year. According to Alpha Capital, TBL registered a total turnover of 25.2bn/- realised at a weighted average price of 6,400/-, discounted by 41.3 per cent from the market closing price of 10,900/-. TBL’s closing price has stagnated at that level for about five years. While Vodacom accounted for 5.82 per cent of the total turnover during the period, with a monetary value of 6.68bn/- after 12.82 million shares were traded at a weighted average price of 520/-, which was 32.5 per cent lower than the almost three years market closing price of 770/-. Alpha Capital Head of Research and Financial Analytics said yesterday the two firms’ prices stagnated as the majority of the turnover was realised through a pre-arranged window, at discounted prices compared to the counter’s closing price. “Collectively,” Mr Muhingo said, “the two giants accounted for 49 per cent of the total domestic market capitalisation”. Also, TBL was the third largest mover during the period, accounting for 22 per cent of the total turnover, behind CRDB Bank and NMB Bank. On other hand, Zan Securities Chief Executive Officer Raphael Masumbuko said through the firm’s weekly wrap-up Counters such as NMB, CRDB and Twiga cement have registered double-digit price appreciation in the respective period. “The year-to-date activities on the DSE have offset risks culminating from global recession fears. “In broader terms,” Mr Masumbuko said, “we expect domestic stocks to register an uptick in prices in the coming weeks, signalled by good earnings results for quarter three as already disclosed by some listed companies.” Furthermore, the overall domestic index (TSI) has returned 7.51 per cent year-to-date compared to 2.35per cent in the 12 months that ended last December. Vertex International Securities, Advisory and Capital Markets Manager, Ahmed Nganya, the equities posted a mixed performance last week as parameters diverged when volume and turnover decreased while prices posted a slight increase. “The domestic equity market was somewhat resilient closing in green, diverging from the total market performance, which closed in red,” Mr Nganya said adding “we expect a continuation of positive performance for domestic equities as earnings factor’s momentum continues”. Market activities registered a slight downward slump for the week registering a turnover of 1.335bn/-, marking a week-on-week fall of 43.89 per cent from 2.379bn/- registered in the previous week. The week’s fall is attributed to a slight reduction in pre-arranged trades within the week indicative of the low turnover figure.

WHY 5G NETWORK VITAL IN SCALING UP ECONOMIC GROWTH

The rollout of 5G network technology by Vodacom Tanzania has paved the way for digital transformation and an impetus that will facilitate rapid economic development. The 5G technology which has revolutionised the way people communicate is expected to play a vital role in supporting the country’s move towards the fourth industrial revolution outfitted with superpowers such as capacity, speed and lightning-fast response time. The country’s first 5G network technology was launched in Dar es Salaam by Vodacom in September this year providing users with fast internet a speed of up to 400 megabits-per-second (Mbps), while the company plans to boost the speed to offer more than 800Mbps in the coming months. The 5G is the wireless network that promises to deliver broadband speeds, low latency and high reliability. The network technology will allow people to connect more conveniently. It is set to open up new opportunities for businesses and be a game changer for the Tanzanian economy. The Minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology, Mr Nape Nnauye said at the event that the launch of the 5G technology network is an important milestone and a big step for the country’s digital economy journey and fourth industrial revolution. He said the launch of the 5G network joins Tanzania with an elite league of countries in Africa and the world which have launched the latest technology. The future is innovation and this is a good step. “I commend Vodacom for paving the way for digital transformation in Tanzania, and the government fully supports this breakthrough through its various sector ministries because we know technology has the power to transform lives and help the country achieve SDG targets in areas such as health, agriculture, energy, logistics and many more. I call on entrepreneurs, businesses, innovators, and ministries to tap into this 5G network and transform this nation. The government pledges its support to you,” he said. Through TCRA Tanzania is embarking on great digital development projects such as constructing the National Fibre Optic Cable network named National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) to achieve greater connectivity across the country and beyond The emerging technologies of the 4th industrial revolution that would be fully complemented by the network include Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Big Data and/or Data Science, 3D printing, Blockchain technologies, neuro-technologies, genetic modifications, drones, autonomous vehicles, and machine visions among others. Vodacom Tanzania Director of Network, Mr Andrew Lupembe provided context on why it was important to adopt 5G instead of enhancing 4G. “The 4G network is good, but due to community demands, there was a need for higher technology with low latency, hence 5G. It will address a lot of challenges in Tanzania,” he explained. For example in the manufacturing sector, the faster and more reliable connectivity, industries can digitally transform their businesses and manufacture their products in much smarter ways. Being one of the key economic sectors in the country, the industrial and manufacturing sectors will be significantly supported by the 5G technology in areas such as operational effectiveness, enabling faster and more effective inspections through predictive intelligence; and improving workplace and worker safety. Another key industrial advancement area that 5G can enable is particularly related to logistics and machinery/equipment such that material flow is automated. It delivers material from storage to the production line, without any human interference. The 5G technology can also assist industries to manage their carbon footprint and bridge the digital divide, hence helping Tanzania work towards achieving SDG goal 13 which is climate action. The 5G technologies play a key role in the modernization of the manufacturing and industry sector in Tanzania, providing multiples of capacity while becoming more energy efficient. The 5G which will enable technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) will influence uses and applications across various sectors that can drive down costs, energy usage, emissions, and waste and mitigate climate change. With 5G, innovative network technologies enable service providers to introduce new services that in turn support societies and enterprises to reduce their carbon emission footprint Tanzania’s government has mentioned that one of the priority areas in the National Financial Inclusion Framework (NFIF) include ensuring the existence of a robust electronic information infrastructure for individuals and businesses to access financial services. With the rising number of mobile device ownerships, the fast internet from the 5G technology will support the country’s financial inclusion agenda, by facilitating easy access to the formal financial services provided by commercial banks and mobile operators. Trade/Commercial sector As data use increases, the digital economy can be scaled up in Tanzania and 5G technology will further improve digital entrepreneurship and innovation, especially the Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) that are seeking to enter and/or are in the online market. So far according to the recent report by Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA), internet subscription has reached 31.1 million as of September 2022. There has also been a significant uptick in consumer e-commerce activity fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic, where online shopping and online retail sales have increased substantially. This also includes business-to-business” (B2B) trading. These subscriptions according to TCRA are either through cable modem, DSL, fibre-to-the-home/building, other fixed (wired) broadband subscriptions, satellite broadband, and terrestrial fixed wireless. Being the backbone of the Tanzanian economy, the agricultural sector stands to benefit a great deal from 5G technology. To help the agricultural sector become connected using advanced tech, 5G could pave the way for innovations such as autonomous vehicles, drone technology and real-time data collection. This in turn could enable better management of both crops (for example being able to interpret and react quickly to soil sensors and weather conditions) and livestock (for example, managing their movements, health and milk yields). The government is rapidly digitalizing public health and social welfare services by increasing the use of information systems, information and communication technology, and digital data management and 5G will be a huge part of it. The technology can also be used to revolutionize the medical field in Tanzania by providing high reliability and low latency services that promise innovations such as robotic aids during surgery to increase accuracy and ambulance drones to provide real-time incident coverage. Vodacom Group CEO, Shameel Joosub said, “Having been first to launch 5G in Africa, this is an exciting milestone in Vodacom’s history as we continue to densify 5G services across our Africa markets, bringing the continent closer to the global digital economy through the latest generation of mobile technology,”

GOVT MAJOR REFORMS ENTICE GLOBAL INVESTORS

For over the past decade, Tanzania has made significant strides in putting a conducive investment environment by introducing various programmes aimed at enticing global investors. The country has opened doors for anyone interested to bring his capital to Tanzania and do business with them. There are no restrictions or preconditions attached. The government has undertaken major reforms in the legal, fiscal and public service sectors. It has a vibrant market-based economy. The government is no longer involved in directly doing business. It has taken a back seat in running the economy and the private sector is now in charge. The economic reforms implemented in Tanzania have generated strong macroeconomic performance over the last decade. There has been rapid real GDP growth, low inflation and a stable foreign exchange position. The government has simplified investment procedures and undertaken economic liberalization measures aiming to facilitate investors to realize their goals. It has introduced numerous structural and legal reforms to ensure ease of starting and doing business in the country. Investors are facilitated to establish their business through Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) One Stop Centre under which 11 government ministries, departments and agencies related to investments are stationed to assist investors in a fast-track manner. The Minister for Investment, Industry and Trade, Dr Ashatu Kijaji said to achieve the goals of Blueprint the government is in the final preparations for launching the Tanzania Electronic Investment Window (TeIW) that will provide investors with permits and other documents in three days. The TeIW will simplify the issuance of permits since all services will be provided through a single window. She says TeIW will connect investors with the One Stop Shop system of the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) for easier monitoring. “TeIW is expected to address problems prospective investors face, particularly in lodging applications and the issuance of investment registration permits, by simplifying procedures since all services will be provided through a single window.” Dr Kijaji says the TeIW has already registered 12 institutions namely TIC, National Identification Authority (NIDA), Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Business Registrations and Licensing Agency (BRELA), and Immigration. Others are the Tanzania Medicine and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA), Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), National Environment Management Council (NEMC), Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) and Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA). The Minister says that the system will enable investors to get an ID number, TIN number, VAT exemption, company registration, working and residence permit, owner documents and investment certificate in a short time. The government believes TeIW will be a panacea for hitches besetting the investment process right from receiving applications to the issuance of investment registration numbers and permits. Dr Kijaji says the government is using its local experts to create a system that will be a saviour for large, medium and small-scale investors. Moreover, Dr Kijaji says the implementation of a blueprint for regulatory reforms to improve the business environment, follows the principles to improve performance and provide services to the public transparently, make decisions by the law and increase accountability in the public sector as well as strengthen discussion and participation of the private sector. Elaborating, the Minister says the Blueprint programme has brought various achievements including slashing 232 fees, charges and fines that were charged by the regulatory authorities and becoming a huge burden to investors in the country. Some of the regulatory authorities whose fees were removed are the Government Chemist Laboratory Authority (GCLA), Sugar Board of Tanzania (SBT), TMDA, TBS, OSHA, and Fire and Rescue Service. Dr Kijaji also says through the Blueprint the government managed to issue more than 10,656 business licenses in the financial year 2021/22. Recently, the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade Mr Exaud Kagahe assured Indian investors to continue putting a friendly business environment that will support and guarantee returns on their investments. Mr Kagahe told the Indian delegation led by the Indorama Commerce DMCC Director, Mr Venkatesh Gopalan that their investments are guaranteed against nationalization and expropriation. He explained to them that the government is ready to help investors realise the goal to achieve their goal on investment returns and that investors are allowed to repatriate profits and dividends without inhibitions. “Protection of private property was guaranteed by the constitution and international treaties,” Mr Kagahe insisted. Furthermore, Mr Kagahe said investors should take advantage of the conducive business environment including excellent geographical location, land, and raw material supply, especially in the natural gas industries, especially fertilizer industries. “Tanzania is ready to do business with potential investors from each country in the World, our doors are wide open, and we have everything that you need to invest in Tanzania; a conducive business environment, political and macroeconomic stability, a facilitative government, abundant natural resources, educated labour-force, a sizeable and captive market, unique geographical location and so on.,” In addition, he pointed out that the government is ready to help them with the investment, especially the fertilizer industries which will use natural gas to develop the agricultural sector that employs many Tanzanians and produces many raw materials needed for industries such as cotton, hemp, edible oil seeds and sugar cane.

VODACOM RECORDS 4.7PC RISE IN REVENUE

Vodacom Tanzania Plc has registered 4.7 per cent increase in service revenue attributed to a strong performance in the data segment, recovery in M-Pesa usage and double-digit growth in revenue from fixed services. The largest telco in the country and only listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) has its revenue jumped to 507.99bn/- in the six months ended September this year compared to 484.98bn/- recorded in the corresponding period, last year. The company’s net profit after tax bounced to 29.02bn/- which is 200 per cent increase in the period under review from a loss of 7.65bn/- posted in the similar period last year. Unveiling the half-year financial results in Dar es Salaam at the weekend, Vodacom Tanzania Managing Director Philip Besiimire said that, “The government decision to review mobile money levies transfer and withdrawal transactions is a welcome move. The reduction is particularly relevant to our peer-to-peer and cash-out transactions which posted a modest recovery in the second quarter and our ability to expand financial inclusion to more Tanzanians. Due to the review of mobile money levies transfer and withdrawal M-Pesa customers recovered to 7.7 million, up 19.5 per cent. The M-Pesa’s revenue trajectory reflects Vodacom’s ongoing focus on driving innovative services, leveraging strategic capabilities from the M-Pesa Africa hub, and accelerating opportunities in new growth areas including digital loans and overdraft services, insurance, and merchant payments. Furthermore, M-Pesa was selected as a partner of choice in assisting the government’s initiative to disburse money to support poor families under the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF). During the first six months, Vodacom Tanzania ushered in a new digital era for customers with the launch of the country’s first 5G network, a substantial innovation and technology milestone for the country. The company also invested 74.9bn/-in capital expenditure to support business growth and broadband coverage obligations. The investment was directed towards network coverage, including 159 new 4G sites and 63 initial 5G sites as well as capacity enhancement and infrastructure improvements. The investment for that period supported a 30.1 per cent growth in data usage on the Vodacom network. “More recently we secured a market-leading spectrum portfolio through an auction process. This investment is key to our network leadership expansion as well as future investment ambitions such as 5G, both critical for bridging the digital divide and delivering on our purpose of connecting people to a better future,” he said. From a commercial standpoint, Vodacom’s customer base increased by 5.1 per cent amounting to 16.0 million, while data users increased by 1.2 per cent to 8.0 million, both owing to the significant investment made in the same period. The number of smartphone users grew significantly by 18.2 per cent to 4.7 million which equates to 58.8 per cent of Vodacom’s data users. Likewise, Vodacom’s market share grew by 0.8 per cent to 30.5 per cent. “Looking ahead, we remain positive on the potential to deliver growth and shareholder value, while also focusing on our social contract and purpose. Vodacom Tanzania is well positioned to contribute towards Tanzania’s economic growth and improved societal living standard. We will continue leveraging on our capabilities to offer segmented multi-products through our ‘systems of advantage’, enabled by our strong customer value management and machine learning platforms,” he added.

SECURING CHINESE MARKET FOR AVOCADO:TAHA HEAPS PRAISE ON SAMIA

The horticulture industry champion has showered praise to President Samia Suluhu Hassan for unlocking the strategic Chinese avocado market worth nearly 150 million US dollars (about 347.3bn/-) per annum. Courtesy of President Samia’s diplomatic agreement with her Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, during her maiden state visit, Tanzania and China signed a protocol on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures to allow Tanzanian-grown avocados to access the latter’s lucrative and sprawling market. “I’m so grateful and proud of our president for her finest diplomatic traits that saw the lucrative avocado market of the world’s most populous nation opened after four years of our futile struggles,” Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Jacqueline Mkindi said. It is understood, the process started in 2018 when TAHA discovered the Chinese avocado potential market, courting the government to use its diplomatic channels to ease the stringent SPS conditions that restrict local avocados to access the roomy and lucrative market. Dr Mkindi said the Head of State move means a boost to the national strategy intends to spur horticulture industry to earn the economy 2 billion US dollars per annum, and create decent employment to a critical mass of youths and women along the entire value chain come 2030. The deal also offers a new impetus for key players to work extra time to support initiatives that prepare local farmers produce quality avocado and certification to be able to hook a lion’s share of the Chinese multi-million-dollar market value. Official data shows that in 2021 China imported 59.61 million metric tonnes valued at 149 million US dollars, owing to Chinese soaring appetite for avocados, driven by demand from its burgeoning health-conscious middle-class that has made the “butter fruit” — unheard of a few years ago — the country’s star performer in the imported fruit market. Estimates indicate that China’s avocado import value would surge to 174 million US dollars per annum by 2026, offering Tanzania a huge opportunity to significantly boost its export of butter fruit as well as other horticultural produce. Dr Mkindi noted that the Chinese market would stimulate avocado production in Tanzania by both small- and large-scale farmers boosting incomes at household levels as well as increasing investment in agro-processing. Current Tanzania’s annual avocado exports stand at around 12,000 metric tonnes worth nearly 30 million US dollars, however, Dr Mkindi said by 2026 the country envisages exporting virtually 20,000 metric tonnes and bring home about 50 million US dollars per year. Tanzania produces an average of 47,000 metric tonnes of exportable avocados annually, of which slightly over 12,000 metric tonnes are exported annually. TAHA boss said that the sky’s the limit for Tanzania to flood the Chinese avocado market, owing to its competitive advantage of prevailing direct ship plying between the two countries, making it much quicker to export than from Chile, Peru and Mexico. “A signed bilateral trade deal means everyone’s win. It keeps the shelves of China’s supermarkets stocked with our butter fruits and in return, it brings foreign currency to our economy, creates employment to youths and women in the value chain as well as offers investors assurance of returns,” Dr Mkindi explained. The pact will help Tanzania’s avocados fetch good prices, while reducing overdependence on the European Union (EU) and Gulf countries’ markets, which are already flooded with supply from the major producing countries. A kilogramme of the avocado fruit in China is arguably fetching 8 US dollars compared to the 6 US dollars that Europe is offering for the same quantity. At the continental and the global level, Tanzania is the third-largest producer in Africa after South Africa and Kenya and the 19th country in the world. However, Tanzania’s avocado industry is the fastest-growing subsector in the horticultural industry, with production projected to double in the next three years due to suitable land. The move for China to grant market access for Tanzanian avocados is part of Beijing’s elaborate plan to increase imports from Africa, to help balance the trade between China and the continent. Most Chinese exports to Africa are finished products – ranging from textiles to electronics – while raw materials and unprocessed products dominate African exports, with the balance of trade heavily in China’s favour. According to Chinese customs data trade with Africa increased by 35 per cent in 2021 to a record high of 254 billion US dollars. China exported 148 billion US dollars in goods to Africa, up 29.9 per cent on 2020, while receiving 106 billion US dollars in imports from the continent – a rise of 43.7 per cent. To help balance out the trade, President Xi vowed to boost imports from Africa to 300 billion US dollars in the next three years. According to China’s foreign ministry, China has granted market access to 25 kinds of food and agricultural products from 14 African countries – including Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Benin and Egypt – since the 2018 FOCAC. China is now the second-largest destination for African agricultural exports, the ministry said. It said in recent years, Africa’s agricultural exports to China had grown an average 11.4 per cent annually. In 2021, African agricultural exports to China grew 18.2 per cent year on year, ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

BRAC EQUIPS OVER 14,000 COFFEE FARMERS WITH SKILSS IN THREE REGIONS

BRAC Tanzania has supported 14,364 smallholder coffee farmers in three regions with knowledge and skills in financial literacy, business skills and entrepreneurship to boost their incomes. The BRAC Tanzania is supporting smallholder coffee farmers through Smallholder Coffee Development Project (SCDP) for inclusive and sustainable development of the coffee value chain to boost incomes and improve their nutrition status. The SCDP Project Manager, Ms Salome Kisenge said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the project is implemented in the Southern Highlands in Mbozi and Ileje of Songwe region, Mbinga and Nyasa in Ruvuma region and Mbeya and Rungwe in Mbeya region. “The project will develop and strengthen smallholder coffee cooperatives as a key enabler of support services that enable production, processing and trade of coffee produced by smallholders,” she said. The manager added that the project aims to increase the productivity of coffee by using the best agricultural methods that resist climate change and stimulate trade-led economic growth in the Southern highlands of Tanzania. “In this project, we also target to increase income from the quantity and quality of coffee harvested, processed and sold in the best markets, accompanied by access to integrated financial services,” she said. She added that the initiative will strengthen the competitive environment of the coffee business due to better policies and systems. Ms Kisenge said BRAC Tanzania will ensure that marginalised women and youth are equipped with knowledge and skills on financial literacy, business skills and entrepreneurship to make informed choices on types of financial service and proper investment along the coffee value chain. Ms Kisenge said the result of low production, productivity and poor quality of coffee has been compounded by unsuitable policy implementation and law enforcement. However, Ms Kisenge said in coffee production, the relationship between production and distribution is imbalanced since women and youth do not own land, but they are the ones engaged fully in coffee production from preparing farms (digging pits), planting, weeding, picking, processing, drying and carrying coffee to the co-operative. “As a result, youth engage themselves in the other activities with young men tend to concentrate on other income generation activities and young women getting involved in household chores,” she said. The project, according to her, is for four years which starts in 2020 and aims to work with 24,000 smallholder farmers, comprising 14,400 young women farmers and 9,600 young men farmers between the ages of 18-35 years. Furthermore, Ms Kisenge said BRAC enables the smallholder farmers to establish Village Savings and Loans (VSL) that enable them to save and borrow. As per August this year’s report there are 376 VSL groups. She said the project was funded by the European Union for about 660,000 Euro in collaboration with the Tanzania Government. Ms Kisenge said the project is closely aligned with the policy framework of the Government as spelt out in the Agriculture Sector Development Programme (ASDPII) for the development of commercial agriculture to raise household incomes and increase development for people in rural areas who constitute the bulk of the country’s population. “This contributes to two National Indicative Programme (NIP) objectives within Sustainable Agriculture that are to generate agricultural wealth, through linking farmers to markets and value chains and to improve food and nutrition security, through improved access availability and use of food,” she said.

IMPROVED BUSINESS CONDITIONS PUSH UP PRIVATE SECTOR CREDIT

Domestic credit extended to the private sector and the Central Government by the banking system grew by 33.7 per cent in the year ending September, compared with 6.8 per cent in the corresponding period last year. The outturn, according to the Bank of Tanzania (BOT) monthly economic review for October, was driven by sustained strong growth of private sector credit that recorded a year-on-year growth of 22 per cent, compared with 4.5 per cent in September last year. The continued strong growth of private sector credit was largely attributable to the continued recovery of economic activities, following improved business conditions. The BOT report state further that most of the economic activities registered positive growth of credit in the year ending September this year saving for hotels and restaurants. During the period under review, the agriculture sector continued to record the highest growth rate, attributable to the monetary policy measures rolled-out to support cost-effective credit intermediation to the agriculture sector and agri-business activities. Meanwhile, personal loans continued to hold the largest share of the outstanding stock of private sector credit, accounting for 38.6 per cent, followed by trade, manufacturing and agriculture. Money supply growth sustained an upward trend in the year ending September this year consistent with strong growth of credit to the private sector. Specifically, the extended broad money supply recorded an annual growth of 13.6 per cent, broadly in line with the target, compared with the 12.7 per cent recorded in September last year. Likewise, the broad money supply grew by 14.4 per cent, slightly below the 15 per cent registered in a similar period last year.

PALM OIL VALUE ADDITION PROJECT BENEFITS BUHINGWE WOMEN

Women in Kigoma Region are benefitting from a special project designed to add value to palm crop products with an objective to boost their social economic wellbeing. The project is benefiting women from three villages of Kanazi, Janda and Bukuba in Buhigwe District. The project is implemented jointly by the Buhigwe District Council, International Trade Centre (ITC) and Small Industries Development Organisation (SIDO). Speaking at the recently ended Coast Region Business Exhibitions in Kibaha Town, SIDO Business Officer for Kigoma Region Mr Habibu Issa said that lives of women in the three villages are being positively transformed by the project. “In 2020, ITC visited our District and noted that the women were cultivating palms but ended producing oil which was of poor quality. This resulted into ITC, SIDO and the Council joining forces to find ways to help them to improve the quality of their product,” he stated. He explained that ITC provided a total of 226m/- for setting up an office, procuring equipment and conducting trainings. “The equipment provided by ITC has not only saved the women but also other residents in the three villages, who are also using them for making quality palm oil,” he said. According to SIDO Regional Manager Mr Gervas Ntahamba, the project has significantly helped to improve crop yields. “It has motivated farmers to expand cultivation, which has long lasting benefits to the villagers and the council as well. This project is directly touching lives of women, who are depended by their families,” he said. He said apart from earning money, the women have also been able to learn new technology of making quality palm oil. Plans are now under way to reach more women in other districts in the region. Ntahamba said SIDO is also in the process of working with ITC to get machines for producing sunflower oil under the same project. Josephine Kiwaga, a treasurer of women group from Kanazi village, said the project has enabled women to improve e income, including supporting their families in different ways. “We have also been able to apply for loans to expand our businesses,” she added.

TeIW TO START OPERATIONS SOON

The government is in the final preparations for launching the Tanzania Electronic Investment Window (TeIW) that will provide investors with permits and other documents in three days. The Minister for Investment, Industry and Trade, Dr Ashatu Kijaji said in Dar es Salaam on Monday that the TeIW will simplify the issuance of permits since all services will be provided through a single window. She said TeIW will connect investors with One Stop Shop system of the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) for easier monitoring. “TeIW is expected to address problems prospective investors’ face, particularly in lodging applications and the issuance of investment registration permits, by simplifying procedures since all services will be provided through a single window,” she said. Dr Kijaji said that the TeIW has already registered 12 institutions namely TIC, National Identification Authority (NIDA), Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Business Registrations and Licencing Agency (BRELA), Immigration. Others are the Tanzania Medicine and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA), Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), National Environment Management Council (NEMC), Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) and Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA). Dr Kijaji said that the system will enable investors get ID number, TIN number, VAT exemption, company registration, working and residence permit, owner documents and investment certificate. The government believes TeIW will be a panacea for hitches besetting the investment process right from receiving applications to issuance of investment registration numbers and permits. “The government is using its local experts to create a system that will be a saviour for large, medium and small scale investors,” she said. Moreover, Dr Kijaji said the implementation of a blueprint for regulatory reforms to improve business environment follows the principles to improve performance and provide services to the public transparently, make decisions in accordance with the law and increase accountability in the public sector as well as strengthen discussion and participation of the private sector. Elaborating, the Minister said implementation of the Blueprint programme has brought various achievements including slashing of 232 fees, charges and fines that were charged by the regulatory authorities and becoming a huge burden to investors in the country. Some of the regulatory authorities that whose fees and charges were removed are Government Chemist Laboratory Authority (GCLA), Tanzania Sugar Board (SBT), TMDA, TBS, OSHA, Fire and Rescue Service. Dr Kijaji also said through the Blueprint the government managed to issue more than 10,656 business licence in the financial year 2021/22.

PRESIDENT SAMIA AWARDS RESCUE JOB TO A ‘FAMOUS’ BUKOBA FISHERMEN

President Samia Suluhu Hassan has ordered the Minister of Home Affairs to recruit a fisherman Majaliwa Jackson into the Fire and Rescue Force for his heroic act of saving 24 lives of people aboard Precision Air. The President who was closely following the funeral ceremony held at Kaitaba Stadium in Kagera region told the Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa who was leading the ceremony to publicly make the instruction. Speaking during the event, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said the Rescue Force needs courageous men just like Majaliwa Jackson. “Immediately after this ceremony, the Minister of the Home Affairs will meet this young man, take his address, follow all formalities and let us witness him going to the rescue force at once,” the Prime Minister said. Additionally, he instructed the Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office in the unit of coordination entrepreneurs to collect the names of all fishermen who were involved in the rescue mission for them to be trained. His instructions came following a request made by the Kagera regional Commissioner earlier today asking for funds from the ministry for the training of the region’s fishermen.

WFP, KOREA INK 13.8bn/- DEAL FOR KIGOMA FARMERS

Within the framework of the humanitarian-development nexus, World Food Programme (WFP) and the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) recently signed a four-year agreement valued at 6 million US dollars (about 13.8bn/-) to ensure food and nutrition security to smallholder farmers. The programme will cover over 20, 000 smallholder farmers, build climate-resilient communities and promote social cohesion and gender quality among the population. Inking the deal, WEP Country Director and Representative, Sarah Gordon-Gibson further said the support would also be extended to over 200,000 refugees in the Kili Tija Kigoma (KITIKI) project in Kigoma Region. She added: “More than 200,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, mostly women and children have been living in the Kigoma Region and funding for them has been done through the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). “Funding will also help WFP to support some 20,000 smallholder farmers and their families, as well as to build institutional, technical, financial and agricultural capacities of community-based organizations in the area. “We are not only empowering smallholder farmers but also contributing towards the triple nexus of humanitarian assistance, development and peace-building in Kigoma Region.” Equally, she narrated how globally the WFP and the Government of Korea have a strong relationship that dates back to 1960s, especially on rapid economic and social development, adding that achieving zero hunger is at the core of WFP’s mandate. “In July this year, WFP started the implementation of its five-year Country Strategic Plan, which will support the economic, social, and environmental issues of food and nutrition security for the people we serve, through a set of activities that will contribute to: i) sustaining inclusive economic growth through market-based interventions, ii) strengthening human capital and increased affordability of healthy diets, and iii) promoting climate change adaptation and environmental restoration. “When refugees and host communities live in the same area, there is a close link between food security and social cohesion. Therefore, it is critical that we adopt an integrated and coherent approach to ensure not only that people are well-fed, but that we foster economic growth and a stable environment and this is what the project plans to achieve,” she pointed out. On his part, KOICA Country Director in Tanzania, Mr Kyucheol Eo, said: “KOICA is a governmental development agency dedicated to providing grant aid program for social and economic development in Tanzania. “The project will fully include KOICA’s values in partnership with WFP in Tanzania. I have no doubt that the project will strengthen stallholder farmers’ agriculture value chain, and improve gender quality and peace in refugee hosting districts in Kigoma Region,” he said. He further said the KITIKI project will enhance peaceful co-existence among refugees and host communities by promoting community engagement and dialogue, noting: “Under the initiative, Tanzanians smallholder farmers, many of whom are women, will receive training on good agricultural practices, post-harvest handling and accessing markets. Additionally, WFP will link farmers with refugee communities to provide a ready market for their produce.”