A DELEGATION of French business leaders is in Dar es Salaam for a three-day business conference which begins today.
According to the French Ambassador, Frederic Clavier, the delegation involves investors from over 30 French companies to make it France's largest business delegation to visit the country in decades. It is being led by the French Business Confederation (MEDEF International) representing 750,000-member companies, which covers 75 per cent of the French private sector.
"MEDEF International is the most representative organisation of the French private sector, at international level and is very dedicated to Africa. They aim at promoting French companies abroad through collective action.
They also support trade, technological cooperation and investments, long-term partnerships, especially in emerging and developing markets," Amb Clavier told reporters over the weekend. This giant conglomerate, he added, is partnering with the Tanzanian Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), together with Tanzania's embassy in Paris-France and his office in Dar es Salaam.
The delegation is being led by the Chairman of the French-Eastern Africa Business Council of MEDEF International, Mr Momar Nguer. Amb Clavier said the gathering is also a "political signal" of growing confidence of France investors for Tanzania as a great investment destination.
The meeting would be a signal of recognition of improved institutions, together with the strength of democracy and stability in Tanzania, he said.
"So, it means that France is confident about the prospects of Tanzania, in terms of economic capacities, with a growth around seven per cent. This is one of the most stable economies in Africa," he said.
It is because French companies are convinced of "Tanzania's great economic potential and investment opportunities" that they are committed to initiate more and strong win-win partnership opportunities between companies from the two countries, which he maintains will contribute to achieving long term development objectives and growth.
To reach these goals the French companies, according to Amb Clavier propose high value technologies, transfer of technologies and capacity building, project engineering, social responsible practices and sustainable development solutions. In his address to members of the press Amb Clavier made it clear that France are dedicated to the target of making Tanzania a "Middle Income" country by 2025.
This is why they're doubling the portfolio of the French Agency for Development this year from 50 million Euros to 100 million Euros. This he said will be especially dedicated to energy, water, transport and other topics if necessary.
According to the French Envoy, his country intends to be a "big player with Tanzania in a win-win relation".
The Head of Economic and Trade Section at the French Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Beatrice Alperte, said the conference was not only about business but also people.
She said the conference was focused on building strong partnership with French companies would be "very powerful" towards strengthening development in countries in Africa. One of the reasons for this, Ms Alperte stated is because France has a lot of investment in research.
She said France was investing roughly over 60 billion US dollars every year in research. In this regard, she maintains a transfer of technology is something very necessary towards boosting development of countries, such as Tanzania.
"This is something that they would like to share because when they invest in research they want to be always the first to go ahead and proceed." Ms Alperte said French companies would always open to share their track records in other countries, like Tanzania, of what they have done in other countries, such as Senegal and Cote d'lvoire.
She also mentioned French companies coming here also to listen to what local companies are saying concerning what is unique today here, as opposed to what might be written on papers. "The key words here are listening, dialogue and to be in action.
We, at the French Embassy are here to follow-up and to make sure that something happens. To be responsible means to respond and be there to explain what has been achieved. We are a strong partner in Africa.
"We are committed in most countries in Africa and now we want to be more present in countries like Tanzania because we do believe it is where everything happens," she said.