3 April 2017

Tanzania-France Business Forum Begins in Dar

Trade between Tanzania and France is still low at around 200 million Euros in favour of Paris, as authorities in both sides figure ways of increasing the volume.

Trade figures, according to French Embassy in Dar es Salaam, shows Tanzania imported goods worth 135 million euros while exported 70 million euros in 2016.

France Embassy's Economic and Trade Advisor, Beatrice Alperte said trade volume from either side was low as most are pharmaceutical from Paris and raw agricultural goods from Dar.

"This volume is very low... it's our sincere hope the France- Tanzania Business Forum will alter the figures to better," Ms Alperte told the 'Daily News' ahead of Tanzania- France business forum which begins in Dar es Salaam today.

The private sector led fourday forum aims at strengthening and nurturing trade initiatives whose ultimate goal is to improve the two countries' business partnership.

The event will focus on sectors that will support the Tanzania strategy of industrialisation: Energy, including Renewable Energies, Transport, Digital solutions and will seek how to provide capacity building to local businesses.

More than 200 people are expected to participate, including at least 50 French and Tanzanian companies. Tanzanian students from universities and technical high schools of Dar es Salaam have been invited.

Ms Alperte admitted that French participation in East African bloc trading and investment was low compared to West Africa but said she hoped things would change. She said "Total is well known in these parties, but we have bigger companies as well on energy, IT, manufacturing with a number of subsidiaries." Total, one of the largest petrol-products distributors, has been operating in the country for some four decades.

The firm last week acquired GAPCO's assets in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania-- thus strengthening its logistics in the region. Ms Alperte said big French companies which operate in East Africa, Africa and new ones are coming to the event including Total, Engie, Egis, Bouygues and the like.

Engie, a power company, through Power Corner last October, commissioned a mini electricity grid that is supplying solar power to Ketumbeine, a village that is home to 800 people, in Arusha.

The installation of a minigrid of solar panels, which will progressively be replicated throughout Africa, constitutes one of Engie's key objectives, which is to provide rural populations with access to environmentally- friendly energy.

Data shows that in 2015 Tanzania imported from France pharmaceuticals, and aircraft and related equipment comprised over 50 per cent of total volume. On other hand France imported from Tanzania unmanufactured tobacco, precious stones--both semi and uncut stones--and coffee.

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