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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tanzania: Plans Underway to Woo Diaspora to Invest

Dodoma — THE government will continue to encourage direct investment from Tanzanians in the Diaspora as opposed to subsistence support.

Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mahadhi Juma Maalim told the National Assembly here on Wednesday that the need to engage Tanzanians in Diaspora was cross cutting, saying the ministry's task was to facilitate the engagement.

He said the ministry has formed a task force of stakeholders, which involves members from his ministry, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Planning Commission, Public Service Management and National Statistics Bureau, which will be in charge of monitoring and coordinating engagement with Tanzanians in the Diaspora.

He said knowledge and skills of the Diaspora is an additional source of engagement for the country to tap in strengthening the economy.However, he said the country has no specific data of the number of Tanzanians in Diaspora but said it is believed that the number has slightly exceeded 2,000,000, living and working in different countries in the world.

Mr Maalim further said that his ministry in collaboration with the World Bank is in the process of coordinating strategies to reach every Tanzanian in the Diaspora in a bid to get their exact number. The deputy minister was responding to a question by Vicky Kamata (Special Seats - CCM), who wanted to know the number of Tanzanians in Diaspora.

In her supplementary question, Martha Mlata (Special Seats - CCM), also demanded to know why the Diaspora were not encouraged to invest at home. She wanted a special window opened, to address the role of the Diaspora community in shaping the future of Tanzania.

Responding, Mr Maalim insisted the government's commitment in galvanising the Tanzanian Diaspora of all generations in harnessing their skills, knowledge and investment in the continued economic development of the country.

Tanzanians in the Diaspora have been channelling funds back home in various informal methods which authorities can hardly monitor. Such methods include sending money through relatives, buying luxurious goods such as automobiles, laptops, cameras and mobile phones among others, which are sent home and exchanged for money.


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