Dar es Salaam — Members of the business community in Tanzania are working on a special strategy that would enable the country to best utilise the trade and investment opportunities that are available in neighbouring Malawi.
Grouped under the auspices of Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), the business community believes Malawi has numerous untapped potentials in the areas of commercial agriculture, manufacturing and mining that could be utilized for the benefit of the peoples of both countries.
The strategy, according to the acting TPSF chairperson, Ms Angelina Ngalula, would take into account the business environment in Malawi and come up with a database of potential business and investment areas.
"The strategy will make it easy for Tanzanians to understand the business environment there. It will entail potential areas of doing business, including costs of establishing a business or factory, taxes and other matters," she said yesterday.
In the endeavour to walk the talk, TPSF yesterday held talks with Tanzania's high commissioner to Malawi, Benedicto Mashiba, to have his inputs included in the strategy.
The plan by TPSF - the apex body of Tanzania's business community - comes within a week since Malawi's new President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera made his first state visit to Tanzania.
During the visit, Dr Chakwera expressed admiration of the onggoing infrastructural and other economic developments in Tanzania.
In a joint press conference, President John Magufuli and President Chakwera said they had agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in a number of areas, including trade, transport, communications, energy - and democracy.
They said at the Dar es Salaam State House that they had instructed their governments' officials to expedite ongoing negotiations so that they could swiftly put pen to paper on issues that are in the two countries' mutual interests.
Figures issued by President Magufuli put the volume of trade between the two neighbouring countries at $81 million, having grown from $60 million in 2015.
This, TPSF believes, was insufficient - and much more needs to be done.
Such an amount, according to TPSF, should involve just about a single trading company.
Briefing a section of TPSF members yesterday, High Commissioner Mashiba said that, with a population of nearly 18 million people - and an average economic growth rate of 5.8 percent, Malawi offers prospects of both a lucrative market and a growing economy.
"The first potential area for investment is electricity. Malawi's electricity demand is over 400MW but its generation capacity ranges between 180MW to 340MW," he said.
Tanzanian investors, he said, could also invest in the production and distribution of fertilizers - given that maize is Malawi's main food crop while tobacco is its major cash crop.
Currently, Tanzanian industrial products already dominate the Malawi market.
Tanzania mostly exports petroleum jelly, powdered soap, soft drinks, bananas, cement clinker, bags, mosquito nets, sardines and wood to Malawi.
Malawi exports industrial sugar, ground nuts, soya beans, maize seeds, coal, cosmetics, glassware, vegetables and fruits to Tanzania.