(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Tanzanian Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda has met with members and officials of Qatar Chamber (QC) to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral ties with Qatar, particularly in areas of food security and tourism.
Pinda, who was in Qatar for a three-day trade visit, hosted QC vice chairman Mohamed bin Ahmed bin Tawar al-Kuwari and a group of Qatari businessmen in a meeting held at the Sheraton Hotel on Monday.
During the meeting, the prime minister emphasised the opportunities that could be exploited; from the proximity between Qatar and the United Republic of Tanzania, as well as other neighbouring countries "in order to advance our economies."
Pinda said Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa and sits between six other landlocked countries: Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, and Malawi, which he described as "a substantial market."
He said the presence of three deep water ports, namely Dar es Salaam, Tanga, and Mtwara and the country's membership with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) widen Tanzania's trade opportunities as it serves as an export hub for the 15 countries under the SADC.
Pinda also invited Qatar to explore possible investments in Tanzania's agricultural and livestock development, sugar cultivation, rice crop growing, and horticulture sector, as well as in fisheries, forestry, and beekeeping.
The prime minister added that other investment areas include the education, health, insurance and security services, construction, water and sanitation, and integrated waste management sectors.
Juliet R Kairuki, executive director of Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), told Gulf Times TIC held talks with the Qatar Investment Authority's (QIA) Hassad Foods yesterday to explore initiatives on food security.
Kairuki added that TIC will be inviting Hassad Foods to visit Tanzania to identify potential areas of investments in the agriculture and livestock sector. The date of the visit, however, has not yet been finalised, she said. Al-Kuwari said Qatar will be joining other Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries to attend a conference in Tanzania next year. He added that the event would be an opportunity to bring Hassad Foods, including a Qatari business delegation, to continue discussions on food security and tourism-related initiatives.
"There is much desire from the chamber and local business owners to explore the investment climate and opportunities in the Tanzanian market, especially in the fields of mining and agriculture because we are serious about developing Qatar's food security," al-Kuwari said.
Pinda also said Tanzania is looking at Qatar to help it develop the country's oil and gas industry.
There have been several gas discoveries on the coastal shore of the Indian Ocean at Songosongo, Mnazi Bay, and Mkuranga. Pinda said these discoveries "are catalysts of natural gas developments in Tanzania."
"Your expertise in the hydrocarbon sector can help us. We need knowledgeable people to help us in our oil and gas industry considering that you already have a lot of experience in this area," Pinda said.
Al-Kuwari hands over a token of appreciation to Pinda after the business meeting held in Doha. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed.
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