Zanzibar — Tanzania and the Comoro Islands have a common historical and cultural identity, stemming from people's movement and trade.
The identity was bolstered in the Second Trade Forum held in Zanzibar on November 19, with the aim of fostering trade and strengthen economic ties. The Forum was organized with the support of the governments of Tanzania, Zanzibar and Industry and Marketing.
After day-long discussions participants including the wife of the Comoros Vice -President Ms NourouL'Houda Said Mohamed, agreed on various areas of cooperation including Zanzibar Shipping Corporation (ZSC) to introduce a new direct route from Zanzibar to Comoros, using MV Mapinduzi II.
"Air Tanzania Corporation Limited (ATCL) should see the possibility of introducing a schedule flight from Tanzania to the Comoros and fast track trade and customs clearance procedures," according to the agreement.
The forum also agreed 'for greater collaboration between the three chambers (UCCIA, ZNCCIA and TCCIA) to harness business and investment opportunities;' and 'to sustain and organize every year the Tanzania Comoro- Trade Forum.'
President Ali Mohamed Shein graced the opening of forum with a call on stakeholders to use the available opportunities to invest and make businesses grow. Second Vice- President Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi and business men from Egypt were also invited at the opening.
"Zanzibar has many things in common. We share culture and language. It is only the sea and colonial boundaries that divided us. The doors are open to revive our history of cooperation in various development programs," Dr Shein said.
He said in the 16th and 17th centuries, Zanzibar was a famous place for trade followed later by then British Protectorate declaring the islands 'Free Port', "since History repeats itself, let us reopen trade and make it sustainable."
President Shein said the United Republic of Tanzania is ready to work with the Comoros and that already the business environment in the country is conducive for trade and investments in Tourism, culture, transportation and health among others.
Dr Shein promoted use of Kiswahili language and that governments would be happy to see Public Private Partnership (PPP) strengthens because private sector remains an engine of economic growth.
In her closing remarks of the Second Tanzania-Comoro Trade Forum 2016, Minister for Trade, Industry and Marketing Amb Amina Salum Ali expressed her gratitude to the participants, organizing committee and sponsors for their efforts.
Tanzania's Ambassador to the Comoros Mr Chabaka Faraji Kilumanga, on behalf of participants expressed an appreciation to the government and the people of Tanzania for their hospitality to ensure the success of the Forum.
He said the objectives of the Forum which include "to strengthen bilateral trade, investment, cultural and historical relations for the benefits of the people of these two countries (Comoros and Tanzania) were met."
Other specific objectives of the forum were to promote and consolidate the achievements of the 1st Trade Forum and to sensitize the public opinion in Tanzania which believes that the word "Wangazija" means Comoros while the official name is Union of Comoros composed of Ndzuwani, Mwali, Ngazidja and Mayotte.
"To reinforce areas of cooperation with Tanzania; To maintain the historic links of neighbourhood and blood between the people of Comoros and Zanzibar and other regions of Tanzania as well as to develop and preserve the common destiny," were other achieved goals of the forum.
Participants of the forum held at Sea-Cliff Hotel in coastal village of Bumbwini, Unguja North, also aimed to facilitate business to business (B2B) engagements, and to provide Networking opportunity for various stakeholders within Tanzania and Comoran Business Community.
Eight presentations were delivered during the forum, focusing on Investment opportunities and facilitation for Zanzibar (ZIPA). It was explained that Zanzibar offers investment opportunity in areas of tourism, light manufacturing, Agro-processing, deep seas fishing, fish processing and fish farming, service sector such as education, ICT, health and business and financial services.
A presentation from Zanzibar Shipping Corporation (ZSC) explained the overview of their Corporation, transportation policy, safeness and possibility of MV Mapinduzi II to start its voyage to The Union of Comoros.
Presentation on 'Investment Opportunities and facilitation for Comoros (ANPI)' highlighted areas of tourism, manufacturing, energy and health while a topic on 'Industrial and Enterprise Development (Modec)' gave an overview of their company which deals with the general contractor specializing in engineering, procurement, construction and installation of production system.
Success of Exim bank invested in the Comoros' was given as an example of Tanzanian success on the islands.
Tanzania Saccos for Women Entrepreneurs (TASWEsaccos), made presentation about financial opportunities regarding 'financial credit' offered to women entrepreneurs who intend to establish business. In other hand Taswe intend to establish Swahili and Entrepreneurs Institution in Union of Comoros in order to facilitate Trade. When the topic entitled 'Trade facilitation and custom procedures (customs Comoros)' was also presented, participants also learned about the issue of trade facilitation and custom procedures for importing and exporting of goods.
Mr Mouhtar I'ssouf Combo from Union of Comoros Chamber of Commerce explained about support they provide in Trade, industrial and agricultural opportunities. In his remarks at the forum the Vice President - Tanzania Chamber of Commerce (TCCIA) Mr Octavian Mshiu focused on the areas investment such as tourism, manufacturing, energy and health and welcomed both Comoros and Tanzanian investors to use these opportunities.
Mr Taufiq Salum President of Zanzibar National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCCIA) also briefly introduced what investors and traders should expect when opening a business here.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation from Union of Comoros Mr Mohamed Bacar Dossar and his Tanzania counterpart Ambassador Dr Augustino Mahiga, in separate statements called on need of strengthening bilateral trade, economic, investments, cultural and historical relations.
The need of seeking more business and investment opportunities between the two countries, and the need of simplifying the business and investment procedures to facilitate ease of doing business, were other key areas stressed by the foreign Ministers.
Dr Mahiga and Mr Dossar also mentioned the need to ease market access while protecting the brands and quality of the products produced within the countries, and strengthening working relation between the chambers of Tanzania, Union of the Comoros and Zanzibar.