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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

French investors see potential in Tanzania – envoy

IPP Executive Chairman Dr Reginald Mengi welcomes Director for Africa from French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Elizabeth Barbie (C) when the latter visited IPP Headquarters in Dar es Salaam yesterday. Right is French Ambassador Marcel Escure. (Photo: Selemani Mpochi)
French diplomat, Elizabeth Barbie said yesterday investors from her country were more than ready to invest in Tanzania, which she described as a fast growing developing economy, with massive business and investment potentials.
Barbie, who is the Director General for Africa and Indian Ocean in the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs, made the remarks during talks with IPP Executive Chairman, Dr Reginald Mengi at the latter’s Office in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
“Despite some challenges, Tanzania’s economy is growing…in terms of trade, business, investments, etc,” noted Barbie, who is currently on a working tour in Tanzania.
According to the diplomat, these potentials needed to be exploited productively in order to produce tangible results at the grassroots levels — in terms of improved living conditions of people.
She said in the western world, Tanzania is eyed as one of the fastest growing developing economy, with numerous potentials, something which attracts more foreign investments.
“French companies are ready to invest in Tanzania. They want to take advantage of the growth and development potentials,” said Barbie.
Responding to Mengi’s question on French government plans to support Tanzania and other African countries to access markets of advanced nations, she said France was a strong supporter of initiatives by the African Union aimed at exposing African countries to the advanced markets.
“Very soon, Tanzania will chair the Southern African Development Community (SADC)…that’s a good opportunity to enhance political dialogue between French and Tanzania on how to develop trade, investment sectors,” said Barbie.
She said there were opportunities (at the international levels) for assisting African nations, Tanzania included, to access western markets.
IPP chairman, Mengi raised a concern over increased pirates in the Indian Ocean, noting that regional and international efforts to counter the problem have not yielded the anticipated results.
“It’s a big problem in Africa, affecting many countries…and it seems governments and international efforts have failed to prevent movements of these criminals (pirates). What is your (French) plan to support African countries get rid of this problem?” asked Mengi.
Responding, French diplomat said individually, France had made some efforts to provide support for fighting pirates, but “at the European Union level, there is a special project which will start soon to build capacities of some African countries (Tanzania being one of them) in tackling increased waves of pirates in the Indian Ocean.”
In the course of discussion, the IPP chairman sought to know French government plans in assisting African governments to recover money stolen from public coffers and deposited in offshore accounts.
“Because it is ironic to note that developed nations are giving money to support African development programmes, but some dishonest and corrupt public officials steal that money and deposit it in offshore accounts…the same money is going back to develop advanced nations. It’s very strange,” said Mengi.
In her response, Barbie said both South and North needed to step up joint initiatives to prevent transfer of corruptly acquired money, including strengthening good governance, accountability and transparent frameworks.

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