Sumbawanga — BUSINESS activities in Mpanda, Katavi region have gained momentum as the newly established region takes off. More than 200 visitors accepted invitations to attend the Lake Tannganyika Investors forum.
Businessmen have come from Tabora, Kigoma, Rukwa, Shinyanga, Kagera and as far as Mwanza. Forty-five foreign investors came from Turkey, North Korea, China, Germany, Japan and Syria. Shops and open air markets are occupied in anticipation of the week-long celebrations to officially launch the new region on Monday.
A survey conducted by the 'Sunday News' revealed that local traders are making a profit by selling various items to visitors. "Over the past six months my business has been doing badly but on Saturday, it has gained momentum, as I now sell up to mid night", said John Marekani, who sells chips and roast meat. Hotel owners are equally happy with the influx of visitors.
Internet cafes owners are smiling all the way to the bank as the visitors want to stay connected with their businesses and families. Taxi and 'bodaboda' drivers seem to be making huge profit as visitors hire as they go about their shopping in the process hiking fares as they now charge up to 2,000/- for a town bound trip up from 1000/-.
This is only time we will earn a quick buck", says Hamis Akilimali , a 'bodaboda' driver in Mpanda town. Meanwhile, Vice-President Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal is expected to grace the Lake Tanganyika Investors' Forum in Mpanda District, Katavi Region meant to evaluate success and challenges recorded after the previous forum held over a year ago.
The one-day meeting scheduled for November 24, will also mark the climax of weeklong celebrations to officially launch the newly established Katavi Region, pencilled to officially kick off on Monday until November, 25 this year. The Katavi Regional Commissioner, Dr Rajab Rutengwe, revealed this over a telephone interview with the 'Sunday News' recently.
Dr Bilal, who is scheduled to arrive in Mpanda town on November 23 will also inaugurate several development projects in the area. "Among invited dignitaries is the Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda, who is expected to fly from Kigoma Region on November 23," added the RC.
The meeting, organised by the Katavi Regional Government in collaboration with counterparts from Kigoma and Rukwa is aimed at evaluating the success, challenges and progress made since the last Lake Tanganyika Zone Investors' Forum held in October last year.
The event was officiated by President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and sought to enhance investment in Lake Tanganyika regions of Rukwa, Kigoma and Katavi. The three regions are richly endowed with vast natural resources, have great investment opportunities in tourism, agriculture, mining, fisheries, among others.
Dr Rutengwe confirms that everything is in order for the meeting expected to change the economy of the people of the three regions and the nation as a whole. He said 10 envoys from various countries have confirmed participation.
The newly established Katavi Region is lagging behind in tourism and investment despite vast attractions due to myriad of problems including poor and unreliable road, rail, port, and airport infrastructure as well as water and power blues.