TANZANIA, TURKEY EYE 2 TRILLION TRADE VOLUME

Tanzania and Turkey inked 10 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to substantially increase trade volume among themselves to at least one billion US dollars (over 2tri/-) in the next few years.

Expectations were especially high at the Tanzania-Turkey Trade Forum at the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) conference centre, after President John Magufuli had earlier hosted his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at State House.

Dr Magufuli expressed optimism that given the link between the Tanzania's businesspeople and their Turkish counterparts, the trade volume between the two countries would probably grow to one billion dollars from the current 190 million US dollars (about 400bn/-), in the next few years.

Business people from both countries should exchange contacts for each of you to come up with at least one business idea at the end of this forum, President Magufuli told the business community from the two countries.

President Erdogan told the forum that the common problem of African countries was unemployment, proposing huge investments as one of the most powerful tools to fight the vice. So today, the gathering between Turkish and Tanzanian businessmen here means that investments will increase, leading to creation of new jobs.

I invite businesspeople from Tanzania to work with their Turkish counterparts to jointly invest in Turkey, Tanzania or even in other countries. I also call upon Turkish businesspeople to explore investment opportunities in Tanzania, he said.

The visiting leader who was on a two-day state visit said the Turkish government wants to reflect the positive political ambience between the two countries to trade and economic relations. Our meetings have been very fruitful regarding the future of both countries.

We have observed that there is huge potential for cooperation between our two countries. We want to extend this cooperation to trade, tourism, agriculture, railways, industry and construction, he insisted.

Speaking at the State House earlier, President Erdogan decried the low trade volume 190 million dollars between Ankara and Dar es Salaam, saying it does not reflect the real potential that exists. He instead wished the amount to increase to at least 500 million dollars, per annum.

During the forum, Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) and its Turkish counterpart, the Forum Economic Relations Board (FERB), signed the MoU on the strengthening of good trade relations between their members.Earlier, at the news briefing at State House, the two countries inked nine MoUs to cement bi-lateral relations on industry, defence, health and tourism.

Cabinet Ministers and high-ranking officials from the two governments signed the agreements as President Magufuli and his guest watched. Speaking after the signing, Tanzania's Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Prof Jumanne Maghembe, said the MoU on tourism between Dar es Salaam and Ankara will facilitate our manpower capacity building in the tourism industry.

The agreement will also enable us to attract more investments from Turkey in the hospitality industry through construction of hotels, particularly along the Indian Ocean coast line, the minister stated.

Prof Maghembe was optimistic that the visit by the Turkish leader and MoU signing will increase the number of backpackers from Turkey to Tanzania from the current 10,000 to 100,000, annually.

There is a lot we can learn from Turkey and the agreement will enable us to achieve our targets...Turkey receives over 10 million tourists annually even though we have more tourist attractions than them, he pointed. Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Ummy Mwalimu explained that the signed agreement on health will help Tanzania on capacity building in specialised treatment. We will train our people on such specialised skills and at the same time acquire medical equipment from Turkey.

Last year, for instance, we sent out 305 patients with kidney and liver complications outside the country for treatment down from 500 in 2015...the number can be reduced if we offer such treatment domestically, the minister remarked. She hinted as well that the Turkish government had pledged to support Tanzania towards establishment of Hospital Management Integrated System to improve efficiency in the health sector.

The system will enable health practitioners to electronically register, trace and make follow up of patients during service delivery. It will also enable the government to track revenues generated at the health facilities, she explained. Other signed agreements were between Air Tanzania Company Limited and Turkish Airlines, Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation and Turkey's state broadcaster, with another MoU on education and research. Small Industries Development Organisation also inked the agreement with its Turkish counterpart.

Other MoUs were on defence co-operation and diplomatic relations. The MoU is a formal agreement between the signing parties to establish official partnerships. It's not legally binding but it carries a degree of seriousness and mutual respect.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK