July 20, 2007

Tanzania, Uganda are the safest havens for business in Africa


From our ANI Correspondent


New Delhi, July 17: Tanzania and Uganda are safer places for investment unlike the common perception, and Asian private companies should invest more in African nations for over all business development, said Masato Tsukiji, Project Manager, Asia Africa Investment Technology Centre (AAITPC) at a seminar on "Investment Opportunities in Tanzania and Uganda", organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and AAITPC here on Tuesday.


"The level of interest to invest in Africa has been increasing and Indian companies have already set up business in the African countries," Tsukiji said.

Tsukiji said that AAITPC was set up in 1999 with the financial support of Japanese government to set up sustainable business in Africa by private companies of Asia. He said that AAITPC has been able to set up a network of business associations of eight African countries and six Asian countries.

CII represents India in the South-South cooperation initiative of AAITPC and has been successfully promoting business in African countries through business conclaves and visit of delegation to the African countries, he said. The next business mission will visit Tanzania on November 28-29 and Uganda on December 3 and 4, 2007, Tsukiji said.

"GDP has been growing at the rate of 5.7 percent and Tanzania has continuously made impressive efforts to create investment opportunities," said Patricia Mhondo, Investment Promotion Manager (Foreign), Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC). The country has constituted Tanzania Investment Act which provides opportunities like soft landing, five automatic work permits, right to transfer 100 percent foreign currency earned and 100 percent foreign ownership of a company, she said.

The foreign investment is protected against nationalisation and a National Investment Steering Committee has been formed to resolve all the critical investment issues, said Mhondo. The scopes of investment are in mining, telecommunication, transportation and tourism, she said. Tanzania has a stable government and provides market access to US, EU and East Africa, she added.

Issa Mukasa, Director, Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) said that Uganda provides business opportunities in agriculture, IT, tourism and mining. India can impart training in ICT enabled service through joint ventures with existing companies.

There are also business opportunities in vocational training, tertiary education, specialised diagnostic facilities, pharmaceuticals and financial intermediaries, said Mr. Mukasa. "Uganda has a potential of generating 2000 MW of hydro-power but only 300 MW is being currently used. This provides huge potential for investors in the energy sector," he added.

Uganda provides predictable investment environment and fully liberalised economy, said Mr. Mukasa. He also said that Uganda has a trainable labour force that can provide cost effective manufacturing opportunities in the country.

"Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), November, 2007 in Uganda will offer a great opportunity for business networking and understanding the trade possibilities with the country", he said.

"India and Africa share a goodwill on both sides and should capitalise the opportunities," said V B Soni, Chairman of the Seminar and Chairman, Overseas Infrastructure Alliance (I) Pvt. Ltd.

He said that Tanzania and India have shared a favourable bilateral trade with an export of 243.45 million dollars and import of 119.76 million dollars. The scope for business with Uganda with just 92 million dollars of export and 2.84 million dollars in imports was huge, he added.


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