Tanzania: Investments in Economic Zones Closer to 3 Trillion/-

CAPITAL investments in Export Processing Zone (EPZ) and Special Economic Zone (SEZ) have continued to register an exponential growth with the latest figures by the Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) indicating that the amount has clocked US 1.29 billion dollars (about 2.83 8trl/-).

The Director General of EPZA, Col. (retired) Joseph Simbakalia, attributed the remarkable achievement in capital growth to participation and commitment of investors in the industrial parks.

Speaking in an exclusive interview, the EPZA boss revealed on the other hand investors from India form 21 per cent of all investments in EPZ and SEZ. EPZA started its operations in 2007 with few factories.

Later on, the government through the authority embarked on the construction of the first government-owned industrial park known as Benjamin William Mkapa Special Economic Zone (BWM-SEZ) at Mabibo External in Dar es Salaam.

With the success of Benjamin William Mkapa SEZ, the authority has now made a giant leap forward by embarking on the development of mega zones that will be in form of industrial-cum-commercial cities in Bagamoyo, Mtwara, Dar es Salaam (K urasini) and Kigoma, he stated.

The Bagamoyo Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is the current priority flagship project which has reached a very good progress, covering an area of 9 ,000 hectares.

EPZA and the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) have partnered with China Merchant Holding International (CHMI) and the State Government Reserve Fund (SGRF) from China and Oman respectively as strategic investors to develop the industrial park and a new Mbegani Port within Bagamoyo SEZ.

According to the EPZA DG, the BWM-SEZ has demonstrated to be a successful proof of concept for the establishment of economic zones in Tanzania with diverse industrial activities.

BWM-SEZ accommodates more than 20 EPZ factories and will create 8,000 jobs when fully operational, he ex plained.

"Our Investors vary from garment manufacturing companies that sell all their products to the United States through AGOA (Africa Growth Opportunity Act) to high-tech industries as well as private developers of industrial parks," he revealed. Col. (retired) Simbakalia pointed to the fact that Tanzania's strategic comparative advantages lie in abundance of natural resource endowments, particularly agricultural land and water for irrigation in addition to fishing, forestry and minerals.

He assured investors of preferential trade markets for Tanzanian products in markets such as Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) of the United States, the European Union's Everything But Arms (EBA) programme, the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

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