I Am Like an Indian- Charles Mwijage, Trade & Industry Minister Of Tanzania

 Tanzania is India’s trade partner in the fields of Agriculture, mining and fight against climate change, they have also opened up doors to energy and power sector companies of India. Earlier in 2000, union government had a fruitful agreement with Tanzania and the last year’s visit by the Prime Minister of India to four African nations including Tanzania, had ignited the Tanzanian government once again to rejuvenate what they had left behind in the year 2000. BW Businessworld had an exclusive interaction with the Trade, Industry and Investment Minister of Tanzania, Charles Mwijage.

Q. How would you rate the success of water conservation credit given to Tanzania by India?
There is one such project going in one town and some 10 other towns are also in the list of our government. We are working positively to see the possibilities of resolving issues on our side so that credit can be utilised in the best possible manner. I do not handle water portfolio but for credit issue, we will definitely do something positive very soon. We appreciate India’s support in such valuable areas.
Q. What is the progress on previous year’s agreement with India to face climate challenges?
Yes, we are seriously working on it. There is a dedicated ministry for this issue and they are handling it. We are looking into the cases in a way where the existing problem or challenges that we are facing, may not accelerate. India is, of course, leading us from the front.
Q. How much shift Tanzania had witnessed in pulses export, Major policy thanks believe that pulses are cheaper in nature from meat and good in satisfying protein needs, what do you say?
Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to our country, things and perception both have changed a lot. Yes, it’s a good alternative and we are also looking to export more to India. Tanzania wants a little more freedom to leverage the opportunity. We can definitely produce more and it will be good for our nation. We have an agreement with India to bring products here and our practices are also fair. I feel we will get a positive signal from the Indian government.
Q. How Indian agriculture entrepreneurs can leverage business opportunities in Tanzania?
I would describe it as a good opportunity anyways, especially for Indian youngsters. Indian’s are good at mechanisation and are more trained and experienced. There is enough ground to explore opportunities in Tanzania. There are also ample opportunities worth exploring in the irrigation sector. India should try to boost trade relation at a personal level as well.
Q. How do you look at India on the current world map?
I personally support India, I have studied with Indian kids during my school days. I may be a little biased in my answer. Forefathers of our nation were friends to Mahatma Gandhi. We do love India, in fact, you can think of me as an Indian. This nation with its strong heritage has given us a lot, we are even looking for a better people-to-people contact to take our relationship to a new height. Among top five trade partners of Tanzania, India has a positive presence.
Q. Mozambique is a major pulse exporting nation to India and your neighbour as well, how will you compete with them?
There is no competition between Mozambique and Tanzania. We are also producing pulses for India and as I have told, India is among our top five trade partners. Our relationship with India is diverse and old. I see no competition with Mozambique.
Q. Tanzania has farm fields that are bigger in size, don’t you think that multinational corporations in agriculture will make you a laboratory?   
Yes, we definitely have bigger farm fields but we also have small farmers. This is the point of exploring trade opportunities. I do not see problems with any big companies, they will invest to get something good out of Tanzania. Tanzania is also looking for better opportunities, we did not have aggressive pitching, but we are doing it now. We will start pitching our proposals with more pace. The population has its own advantages, all you need is to increase productivity.
Q. Who do you feel more comfortable with when it comes to trade? China or India?
Both. China has its own products we want to deal with, India has its own products we want to deal with. Both are in the list of five major trade partner nations. I will be cheating on the side of India if I say I do not support India. India is a place we all love to do trade with, and that is why I am here.
Q. Apart from allied activities in agriculture what are the trade opportunities in Tanzania?
Apart from agriculture and allied areas, we are seriously working on cotton and textile industry, infrastructure, energy and Sugar is also an area we are looking upon. Tourism is also our focus. I would love to see a cultural exchange between both the nations. For instance, you’re Amitabh Bachan performing in Tanzania and our actors are performing here.
Q. How much is the size of investment you are eyeing upon from India?
We are looking for a small size of three or four million dollars, but I would like to eye upon at least 10 billion US dollars investment from India. We have a lot to explore, I am sure I will be going back with lots of opportunities.

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