TANZANIA's exports to members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), increased by 12.16% last year compared to the previous year.
Minister for Industry and Trade Innocent Bashungwa revealed this in Dar es Salaam during the launch of the 4th SADC Industrialisation Week and Exhibition ahead of the 39th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government scheduled for August 17 and 18 in Dar es Salaam.
According to the minister, Tanzania had been performing well in trade within the SADC region. Statistics show that Tanzania's exports to the economic bloc for last year reached $999.34m equivalent to 2.3b/-compared to $877.8m equivalent to 2bn/-recorded in 2017.
Mr Bashungwa also said imports from SADC countries increased from $600.64m to $604.32m, which was an increase of 0.61 per cent.
He said some of the goods, which Tanzania exported to SADC countries included Tanzanite, gold, agricultural produce (coffee and tea), manufactured goods such as plastics, cigarettes cement, medicine and equipment.
"Commodities in which Tanzania import from the regional bloc include vehicles, maize seeds, gas, corrugated iron sheets, lubricants and beer," he noted.
He, however, said Tanzania was also benefiting from cooperation projects implemented in SADC countries especially those connecting neighbouring countries.
They include power projects, which connect Tanzania and Zambia, One Stop Border Post (OSBP), between Tanzania and Zambia (Tunduma), Tanzania and Malawi (Nakonde), a water development project and Unity Bridge between Tanzania and Mozambique and strengthening of railway infrastructure and ports.
"Efforts being undertaken by the government to strengthen the Air Tanzania Limited Company (ATCL), will continue to promote growth and strengthen cooperation and trade between Tanzania and the economic bloc," he explained.
He further said the 4th SADC Industrialisation Week and Exhibition were crucial as the regional bloc emphasised building industrial economies.
Mr Bashungwa said the implementation of a SADC industrialisation strategy was in line with the implementation of the SADC Protocol on Trade, 1996, which Tanzania was implementing together with other member countries.
For her part, Zanzibar Minister for Trade, Industry and Investment, Amina Salum Ally commended President Magufuli for investing in infrastructure and improving power supply through the implementation of Rufiji Hydroelectric Power Project.
"Your decision to undertake this project has increased power reliability not only to Tanzania but also to Africa in general," she said. This year's exhibitions drew 3,001 participants from SADC countries, including Tanzania, 1576 exhibitors of which 1,404 are Tanzanians and 172 others from outside the country.