While South Africa has enduring ties with Tanzania, the two countries can do more to strengthen cooperation, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“Since our two countries established diplomatic relations in 1994, we established the Bi-National Commission in 2011, bilateral trade and investment between our two countries has continued to grow,” President Ramaphosa said.
Speaking at the South Africa-Tanzania Business Forum held in Pretoria on Thursday, President Ramaphosa said the partnership between the two nations is founded on a friendship that stretches back many decades, when the people of Tanzania stood alongside the people of South Africa during the struggle to end apartheid and establish a democratic society.
“We found common ground on practical measures we need to take to forge a new partnership aimed at enhancing and increasing our bilateral trade and investment relations,” said President Ramaphosa.
This as the President earlier hosted his Tanzanian counterpart, President Samia Suluhu Hassan on an Official State Visit to South Africa earlier on Thursday.
He said that South Africa is a major investor in Tanzania. Between 1997 and 2022, South African companies have invested in a total of 250 projects, valued at US$ 1 billion, which have created more than 18,000 jobs in Tanzania.
The projects cover sectors like agriculture, construction and real estate, telecommunications, financial services, transportation, manufacturing, mining and petroleum, tourism, energy infrastructure, services and broadcasting.
“There is still much scope for South Africa and Tanzania to strengthen cooperation in these sectors and to expand into other sectors, such as minerals beneficiation, health care and pharmaceuticals, and infrastructure development,” he said.
South Africa and Tanzania are both State Parties to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Free Trade Agreement which governs trade relations between the two countries.
“It is crucial that we leverage the SADC Free Trade Agreement to increase mutually beneficial trade flows. To achieve this goal, we need deeper and more meaningful dialogue between our respective private sectors,” President Ramaphosa said.
Both South Africa and Tanzania convened the business forum to encourage the private sector to make practical suggestions about the basket of products that should be targeted for trade under preferential terms.
President Ramaphosa said there is a need to transform the structure of trade relations with each other and with the rest of the world.
“We are buying goods from other countries that we could be buying from each other. We are creating jobs in other countries that we could be creating in South Africa and Tanzania.
“We must therefore make a concerted effort to increase the supply of ‘Made in South Africa’ and ‘Made in Tanzania’ goods into each other’s markets. It is our desire to build on the solid relations between our two countries and to harness our collective capabilities to forge a new deal for the mutual benefit of all our people,” the President said.
President Hassan said they have agreed to enhance cooperation in the areas of trade and investment. She said South Africa is among the main sources of direct foreign investment in Tanzania.
“We have agreed to enhance our cooperation in the areas of trade and investment considering that South Africa is among the main sources of direct foreign investment in Tanzania. We hope to forge new deals from the business forum,” she said.
She said the Tanzanian government has amended tax laws to ease business transactions for both countries.
“I encourage South African businesses to invest in Tanzania. We are ready to work with the private sector,” she said, adding that tourism and manufacturing are the leading sectors for investment in Tanzania.
Tanzania is one of South Africa’s foremost trading partners on the continent and South Africa wishes to see an increase in trade and investment and broader economic development between the two countries.
To this end, total trade between South Africa and Tanzania increased from R6,89 billion in 2021 to R8,71 billion in 2022.
Source: South African Government News Agency