Deputy Minister for Industry, Trade and Marketing Lazaro Nyalandu said in Dar es Salaam over the weekend that Tanzania for instance is gradually becoming food producing giant in the East African region, the opportunity that can be commercially used to supply in food deficient countries.
"We need to penetrate the market more systematically and follow all procedures to ensure that businesses and investments by Tanzanian investors are legally protected and payoff," Mr Nyalandu told the 'Daily News' in an interview, noting that value addition to agricultural produce is one of the strategies to exploit the market potentials maximally.
A ten-man task force was scheduled to travel to South Sudan and Comoro in November last year to identify various investment opportunities which Tanzanians can grab. But, according to Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) Chairperson Esther Mkwizu, the trip has been delayed over the mounting tension between Juba and Khartoum over oil.
Ms Mkwizu said TPSF was looking for any investment opportunity beyond the borders especially in East Africa. The business delegation is expected to enter South Sudan and conduct both diplomatic and business meetings with local counterparts, coming up with a special report that will provide a clear picture on the business opportunities and challenges.
Ms Mkwizu said that Tanzania's exports to the rest of the East African Community (EAC) countries was making an outstanding performances but said that South Sudan and Comoro offer new market and investment opportunities for the business community.
Tanzania's exports to the EAC nearly doubled to 450 US dollars (about 750bn/-) in 2010 from 263 dollars (about 450bn/-) recorded in 2009.
The exports were mainly mosquito nets, domestic utensils and transformers. Others are mattresses, rice, cement, plastic products, paper products and machinery. Ms Mkwizu appealed for commercial banks to extend their services to South Sudan and Comoro to attract more businesses.
The EAC region currently provides a sizeable market of a combined population of 130 million and an area of 1.85 million square kilometres. It has been reported that traders from Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda had already flocked South Sudan searching for investment opportunities with Tanzania presence being almost negligible.