Despite 2015 elections, Tanzania is the best place to invest

January 11, 2015

United Republic of Tanzania is experiencing a rapid transformation, fast urbanization and rising incomes. Over the past five years, the economy has grown strongly and become more stable; today it is more diversified than many outsiders realize.Tanzania is on course to become the largest economy in the East and Central African region in 2030, up from the second-largest today.But the news isn’t all rosy. The outgoing President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete’s administration faces some daunting tasks before the country can reach its full potential. An additional 10 million Tanzanians could join the global consuming class by 2025, powered by the continued rise of urban Tanzania. Only Nigeria and South Africa are likely to surpass this increase in absolute terms, while Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana and other fast-growing economies will each bring less than half of Tanzania’s number into the consuming class in the same period.Tanzania’s newly rich seem to have a particular appetite for luxury products thanks to a rapidly urbanizing population also provides for strategic pools of labor force in centers of investment.

More than 40 percent of its citizens are currently of working age, between 20 and 65 years according to the latest statistics.On top of that, the World Bank forecasts that the Tanzania economy will grow at 7 percent in 2015 and 2016.These levels of growth are still appealing for long-term investors, including most recently oil and gas companies flocking the country. Democracy is blossoming in the country and has transformed to a regional if not Africa’s best role model.President Jakaya Kikwete has an air of honesty and integrity about him that has come to symbolize hope for the East and Central Africa’s second largest economy. His vision for Tanzania and determination to solve the country’s many problems before his decade long leadership come to an end after mandatory two term in October this year has so far been impressive.Infrastructure is one of the main issues that Jakaya Kiwkete will have to tackle although at the same time this offers a great opportunity for investors and construction companies in the remaining nine months.

The country needs more investment to upgrade infrastructure and cut down logistics costs, which will ultimately boost economic growth. Estimated budget for infrastructure, oil and gas industry, Bagamoyo port is over $30 billion by 2017, but private investment is needed. Some of the main projects include the much-needed Dar Es Salaam Mass Rapid Transit (DRT) — the commercial capital is currently the largest city in the East and Central Africa implementing such a project that is expected to ease traffic congestion in the region’s most populous and largest metropolis. The DRT, although one of the most expensive public projects in the country’s history, is one of the main answers to avoid total traffic gridlock in Dar Es Salaam. For foreign visitors including yours truly, the traffic has become a major problem as most arrive with very limited time and often have to cancel or postpone meetings as they get stuck.Whether your entering the city from Tazara through Mandela Road and then connect to Morogoro Road or directly to the city, locals understand the setback but the damage has already been done.

For a very long-time residents, commuting can be a nightmare whether in private vehicles or Daladala(local name for public transport buses).But Tanzania is not only Dar Es Salaam. Foreign direct investment in regions outside the commercial capital continues to increase. According to preliminary statistics, more than 35 percent of total realized FDI in 2014 was made outside Dar Es Salaam.Among the fastest-growing cities are Mwanza, Arusha, Mbeya. These local economies are mainly benefiting from the commodity boom, and in order to guarantee structural progress toward a diversified economy, Tanzania will have to rid itself of corruption and boost the education of its citizens.By 2025 the demographic dividend, which Tanzania currently enjoys, with more than 70 percent of the population under the age of 35, will come to an end. Tanzania will need to seriously invest in higher quality education as a top priority.The goal is for Tanzania to become a successful and modern society, leading the prosperity must continue even after the exit of President Jakaya Kikwete.

Contador Harrison