President Samia Suluhu Hassan, right, with the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Félix Tshisekedi, October 23, 2022.
Tanzania and DRC deepen investment and trade ties
By Alex Nelson Malanga
Dar es Salaam. Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) businesses yesterday held a business forum that sought to explore trade and investment opportunities in the two countries.
Tanzania offered DR Congo investors the opportunity to invest in the agriculture, livestock, fisheries, manufacturing, mining, and tourism sectors.
DR Congo, for its part, welcomed Tanzanian investors to invest in mining, tourism, infrastructure, insurance, energy, health and education.
Speaking during the forum, Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) director of Research, Planning and Information Systems Mafutah Bunini said Tanzania was in high demand for investors to invest in the production of oil seeds to address the supply gap.
Despite a significant increase in sunflower seed production, there are only about 205,000 metric tonnes of cooking oil produced each year compared to the 570,000 metric tonnes that are needed.
This suggests that Tanzania has a mountain to climb to bridge a deficit gap of 365,000 metric tonnes.
“We have a lot of arable land, yet we are facing a huge shortage of edible oil seeds. We welcome investors from the DR Congo to come and tap opportunities,” said Mr Bunini. Assuring them of a conducive business environment, he said President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s pro-business approach made Tanzania the best destination for investment.
The DR Congo National Investment Promotion Agency managing director, Mr Anthony Kamole, called on Tanzanian investors to construct seaside resorts with beach development and camping equipment as well as rehabilitation and construction of hotels and restaurants.
Mr Kamole also said there were abundant untapped opportunities in the agriculture and fishing industry that, if well utilized, could benefit the two countries in a win-win situation.
He said DR Congo has 80 million hectares of arable land and four million hectares of irrigable land.
Further, he added, their country has a fishing potential of 700,000 tons of fish per year.
On the question of insurance, he said that with a huge population of 100 million people, DR Congo has potential in the insurance sector.
“We have a low penetration rate that offers a large market with high potential,” said Mr Kamole.
The overall insurance penetration ratio as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product in DR Congo is approximately 0.71 percent, he explained. Noting that DR Congo is rich in minerals, he challenged Tanzanian investors to grab opportunities in the mining sector.
“It is well known that 70 percent of the world’s cobalt is produced in DR Congo. It is less known that almost all of the battery-quality cobalt is sourced from the country,” said Mr Kamole.
He went on to add, “There is huge potential to further increase copper and cobalt production in the DR Congo because there are many areas that have not yet been explored or have been underexplored.”
The DR Congo became the East African Community’s (EAC) seventh member in July last year, and with it being a member, the bloc now has access to the Atlantic Ocean.
Thus, Mr Kamole said it would be significant if investors could come in and build more roads and railways to connect the DR Congo and Tanzania.
“More transportation infrastructure would be a win-win for bilateral trade and transportation and potentially assist other EAC members in connecting with the Atlantic or Indian Oceans,” he said.
Trade is currently in favour of DR Congo, whose exports to Tanzania were quoted at $1.67 billion (about Sh3.8 trillion) in 2021 compared to Tanzania’s $207.23 million (about Sh476.6 billion), according to the United Nations Comtrade
He said Tanzania should choose the DR Congo as its investment destination because of the friendly business climate created by the country. In the last two decades, he added, their country has achieved great milestones to improve its business environment.
He said the National Investment Promotion Agency had initiated and coordinated several fundamental reforms to remove all barriers to good business practices.
He hinted that for the trade between the two countries to prosper, it was the duty of the duos to ensure they put in place predictable policies, friendly laws and a taxation regime.
The ambassador of the DR Congo to Tanzania, Mr Jean-Pierre Massala, expressed their commitment to supporting Tanzanian investors. “We are ready to accompany you for the prosperity and visibility of your business,” pledged Mr Massala.