10 August 2014

Tanzania: Encouraging Tanzanians in the Diaspora to Invest Back Home

THE very first Diaspora homecoming in the country will take place in Dar es Salaam next week at the Serena Hotel between Aug 14 and 15.

Going under the theme "Connect, engage, inform and invest" the two day business forum and Gala dinner will bring together Tanzanians living in the Diaspora and stakeholders drawn from various sectors including government, business owners, business mentors and advisors, manufacturers and suppliers, Real Estate developers, Banking institutions, pension schemes, amongst others to discuss challenges the they face in areas of investment and available opportunities.

Our staff writer Natasha K'okutangilira met Emmanuel Mwachullah the CEO of the Tanzania Diaspora Initiative who is coordinating the event. Below are excerpts from the interview.

Question: What prompted you into organising the first Diaspora home coming in Tanzania?

Answer: For starters every year between the months of July and September, thousands of Tanzanians from the Diaspora come home to spend their summer vacations with family and friends.

For this reason, the Tanzania Diaspora Initiative decided to take the opportunity to promote, nurture and sustain a mutually beneficial relationship with visiting Tanzanian Diaspora for national growth and development in all aspects.

Since this is the first Diaspora conference to be held in Tanzania and Dar es Salaam in particular, it is anticipated that Tanzania Diaspora members will seek information on how to invest in Tanzania.

Others will be interested in employment opportunities available in the country. Many would love to know how to buy property without being swindled. Banking and investment in various sectors are issues that interest Tanzanians in the Diaspora and returnees.

Q: Is government involved in the conference?

A; Yes it is. Over the last 52 years, the number of Tanzanians worldwide living outside the country has almost tripled. Indeed, virtually all Tanzanians living in Diaspora have immigrant roots--and these roots are part of our national narrative.

As informal ambassadors for the United Republic of Tanzania the diplomatic and developmental influence of global Tanzania Diaspora communities has been largely overlooked.

To unleash this potential, the Tanzania Diaspora Initiative in partnership with the Prime Ministers' Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation embarked to harness the global connections of Diaspora communities to promote sustainable development in Tanzania.

President Jakaya Kikwete is expected to officially open the conference. By supporting partnerships around entrepreneurship, volunteerism, philanthropy, and innovation, the alliance will provide a platform for capacitybuilding and a forum for collaboration across sectors to expand efforts and to improve lives in Tanzania.

Q: Apart from Tanzanians living in the Diaspora and returnees who else is encouraged to attend the conference?

A: The conference is open to all, especially to individuals and companies interested in investment. It is a great opportunity to access various businesses and services providers under one roof, ask questions, engage and even make business deals as well as learn.

Tickets are still on sale and if one pays for both the conference and the gala dinner he or she get a 15 per cent discount. The conference intends to pull over 80 Tanzanian investors, academicians and friends of Tanzania across the globe.

Investment opportunities, market penetration, product branding, packaging, and international standards for export industry as well as scaling up nutrition and more topics will be discussed.

The conference will not only provide a networking linkage but it will also stimulate investments that will fast track economic growth. The conference is an opportunity for Tanzanians in general to bring together ideas and knowledge on how Tanzanian investments can be improved.

We are not only bringing those with money and ready to invest in this country but also those with knowledge and ideas which they can share with our local entrepreneurs.

Participants are encouraged to come and listen to high profile guest speakers, who will update, inform, educate and inspire Tanzanians on various issues relating to African business, economics, politics, and future scenarios in the country.

Q: What is the Tanzania Diaspora Initiative and how did it start?

A: Tanzania Diaspora Initiative is a network that allows Tanzanians from all backgrounds to connect and engage with one another, grow and possibly learn from each other. Officially registered this year we will officially launch our website and quarterly magazine during the conference.

Our mission is to promote and effectively assist in the development of Tanzanians worldwide by enhancing the meaningful bonds within our communities and to facilitate connections with all Tanzanians. Build and foster an inclusive Tanzanian community that celebrates the strength of our diversity, culture and roots.

Create a network or system that will allow for Tanzanians from all backgrounds to connect with one another, grow and possibly learn from each other.

Our objectives include serving as a platform and bridge between the Diaspora and the Tanzanian government working closely with Diaspora desk/departments in all government agencies. Create a Diaspora Resource Centre, fully equipped with educational and recreational facilities, where members can come to learn, relax, entertain, and network.

Assist members facing housing challenges as part of the relocation process. In line with the new National Housing Scheme the Initiative will work alongside the relevant government bodies as an advocate for its members. We aim at working closely with government, businesses and non governemental organisations in implementing strategies for connecting with Diasporas.

With so many people now living in countries other than the one they were born in there is increasing interest in this topic. Traditionally the preserve of countries like Israel, India Ireland and China we now have many other countries developing in this space such as, Lithuania, Palestine, Scotland, Jamaica, Kenya and Australia to name but a few.

What used to be all about remittances now encompasses trade and investment, philanthropy, tourism, education, culture and sports. Also, it is not just about countries but more about place and this could be a province, city or organisation. After all east or west 'Nyumbani ni nyumbani'


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