DARE S SALAAM, TANZANIA – Tanzania’s performance in regards to exporting goods under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has not been satisfactory as compared to countries like Kenya, the government announced last week. However in recent years, the trend has improved. AGOA was introduced by the United States government in 2000 to encourage sub-Saharan countries export products to the American market on a duty/quota free basis.
Total trade between Tanzania and the US has grown from $143.8 million in 2006 to $346.7 million in 2012 which is more than doubled.
Tanzanian Minister for Industry and Trade, Dr Abdallah Kigoda told women of the African Women Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) last week, “However as a nation we need to do more for the country to benefit fully from the facility, AGOA.” Dr. Kigoda was officially launching the AWEP- Tanzania Chapter, in Dar es Salaam.
He advised entrepreneurs to standardize their products according to American tastes.
Tanzania exports under AGOA amounted to $2.120, 000 in 2010 which increased to $11.850,000 in 2012.
“American consumers are very sensitive to tastes, and our private sector in particular, those doing business with Americans are now adapting to the tastes and the demand of the US market. This is why today statistics indicate that trade has been growing,” Kigoda said.
He outlined factors that contribute to the low export to the US including difficulties in fulfilling the US Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) standards.
“We also have inadequate accredited laboratories for standards, high transportation costs between Tanzania and the US, but also the Tanzania business community lacks adequate US market information,” he said.
Dr Kigoda mentioned other factors that dwindles Tanzanian business with the US as inadequate exposure of Tanzania products in the US market, inadequate market infrastructure, like storage facilities and lack of finance especially for small enterprises.
“We are poised to empower women entrepreneurs in Africa to impart positively on society and advocate for an enabling environment for women’s effective participation in local and international trade and investments,” the AWEP Tanzania Chapter Chairperson Flotea Massawe said.
Ms. Massawe said they were going to showcase Africa’s intra-regional and international potential in trade and investment through the exhibition of exportable products.
“Tanzania women entrepreneurs have the ambition of filling up containers of processed agricultural products and other exportable products women produce under the AGOA trade arrangement,” she said.
She requested policy makers to support women initiatives in economic endeavors, restating that they were ready to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country and its people and continue to create the much needed employment and wealth.
The US ambassador to Tanzania, Alfonso Lenhardt said the launch of the Tanzania Alumni Chapter of the African Women Entrepreneurship Program created a new important resource for entrepreneurs across Tanzania.
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