The United Republic of Tanzania, is formed by more than 126 tribes, and is developing and progressing rapidly every day and introducing all its beauties to the world, demonstrating to the whole world the fact that different cultures can live happily and peacefully with each other at every opportunity, expressing the famous saying of “Hakuna Matata” which means Don’t Worry about it.
We had a pleasant conversation with the Ambassador of Tanzania Prof. Dr. Elizabeth K. With Kiondo, about the traditions and customs of Tanzania, the structure of thought, the attractions worth seeing, the economy and resources of Tanzania, which is five thousand kilometers away from Turkey. Ms. Kiondo and I also talked about bilateral relations between Turkey and Tanzania, what kind of cooperation can be made between the two countries on opportunities for investment and how our businessmen can benefit from these opportunities. I would also like to thank the Ambassador and the Embassy staff for their hospitality and support, who expressed their love for Turkey at every opportunity.
Can we get to know Ambassador of Tanzania Prof. Elizabeth K. Kiondo?
Yes, before being an Ambassador, I was a Professor of Information Science at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. In 2007, I was appointed to head the UNESCO National Commission of Tanzania, the position I held for six years before proceeding to Paris, France to undertake the position of Deputy Permanent Representative of Tanzania to UNESCO. I was appointed the first Ambassador of Tanzania to the Republic of Turkey in December 2016 and I assumed the position in July 2017.
When and how did the Tanzania Embassy open in Turkey?
The Embassy of Tanzania was officially opened in July 2017. Before the opening of the Embassy in Ankara, the Tanzania Embassy in Rome, Italy was accredited to Turkey. Tanzania and Turkey have enjoyed strong diplomatic relations for many decades. Turkish Embassy was in Tanzania since 2009. Turkey is of strategic importance to Tanzania. The decision to open an Embassy in Turkey was made long to me ago and processes and procedures were completed in December 2016. The decision demonstrated the commitment of the government and people of Tanzania to further strengthen the social, economic and cultural ties that existed for the mutual benefit of the two countries.
What would you like to say about the bilateral relations between Tanzania and Turkey?
The bilateral relations between Turkey and Tanzania have continued to grow over time as a result of commitment of leaders of these two countries to work together to promote peace, friendship and development. This commitment has contributed to increased interactions between Tanzania ad Turkish people. Over the years, Turkish people are increasingly exploring various investment opportunities and establishing business partnerships with Tanzania businesses. As a result, there is a growing Turkish community in Tanzania taking advantage of peace, political stability and a conducive business environment. Tanzanians have participated in different business for a organized in Turkey and have established strong business relations. This has led to increased trade volumes between Tanzania and Turkey which are growing exponentially.
On the other hand, the Turkish International Cooperation Agency (TIKA) has opened an office in Dar es Salaam, and is spearheading implementation of various socio-economic projects in health and education. In addition, several Turkish NGOs are undertaking various social projects thus contributing to the socio-economic development of Tanzania. Turkish drama series on local Tanzania Television are very popular and this has further strengthened cultural relations as more Tanzanians become familiar with Turkish people and their culture. The Tanzania Embassy in Ankara is promoting Tanzania’s image and culture to the Turkish people through holding various cultural days to showcase Tanzania culture to Turkish people.
For a long time, students from Tanzania have been trained in various professions in Turkish Universities. This greatly contributes to Tanzania’s strategy to have highly educated and skilled human resources in order to grow its economy to middle income status by the year 2025. In addition, Turkish Airlines flies to three different destinations in Tanzania that is Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro; this has intensified interactions between people of our two countries. Furthermore, to facilitate growth of business, Turkish Airline Cargo flies once a week to Dar es Salaam.
In February 2017 President Erdogan visited Tanzania. During his visit nine bilateral agreements to cooperate in various sectors were signed and this increased the impetus of the relations between Tanzania and Turkey. The opening of Tanzania Embassy in Ankara in 2017 is expected to catalyze further the bilateral relations between the two countries. The Embassy will not only oversee the implementation of these agreements but also facilitate the increased interactions between the people of these two countries.
You have been an Ambassador in Turkey since 2017 and you are the first Ambassador of your country. What do you think about Turkey and the Turkish people?
Yes, it's true; I have been here for almost two years now. First of all, I am very proud to be the first Ambassador of Tanzania to the Republic of Turkey. I am very happy to represent my country to this beautiful land. In the two years I have been in Turkey and I have learned more about Turkey and its people. Turkish people are kind, friendly, and are blessed with a high spirit of hospitality towards foreigners. This attitude blends well with that of Africans and hence it creates an environment of belonging. This makes us Africans feel at home here in Turkey. I have also learned that Turkish people are very hardworking, patriotic and devoted to their common beliefs, understanding and strong family networks, the love for their country is beyond explanation, I like the fact that they put the common interests of Turkey first, demonstrating a strong sense of nationalism and commitment towards national development and prosperity.
I also love Turkish foods, it is magnificent. I have enjoyed diverse Turkish cuisines; from the famous Turkish Kebabs, the Kayseri Manti, The Turkish Iskender, Turkish Pizza (Lahmacun), the amazing Turkish soups (çorba) to Turkish desserts.
The people living in Turkey do not know enough about Tanzania. I'd like to hear from you about Tanzania, can you tell us?
Tanzania is one of the beautiful countries geographically located in Eastern Africa. Tanzania is a United Republic formed on 26th April 1964 after the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Tanzania is home to 57 million people, we have more than 126 tribes but we all speak our national language, Swahili. The capital of Tanzania is Dodoma, while Dar es Salaam is an important commercial city. Politically Tanzania is a democratic country exercising a semi-presidential government system. The country has enjoyed peace and stability since independence with peaceful elections held after every five years.
Tanzania flag consists of four colors: Green, Yellow, Black, and Blue. In which Green represents the vegetation, Yellow represents the minerals and natural resources, Black represents the people of Tanzania, and Blue represents all the water bodies available in Tanzania.
Tanzania is a large country covering 945,234 sq. Km. Tanzania enjoys a diversity of natural resources including minerals such as coal, nickel, gold, diamonds, ruby, Tanzanite and tons of natural gas, also wildlife and fisheries. Tanzania has 60 percent arable land and several rivers and three major lakes (largest lakes in Africa) making it conducive for investment in agricultural and agro-processing and fishing industries.
The Tourism Sector, with a growth rate of 12 % for the last four years is one of the fastest growing sectors, contributing about 17.2% of the GDP and 41.7% of foreign exchange earnings in the last five years. Over one million tourists visit Tanzania to enjoy the beautiful national parks and beautiful beaches of our coastal line and Zanzibar/ there are also beautiful cultural sites including the Zanzibar stone town, a UNESCO World Heritage.
Tanzania is the only country in the World, which has allocated more than 30% of its total area for Wildlife National Parks and protected areas, with 16 National parks, 31 Game reserves, 44 Game controlled areas, 1 Conservation area, and other natural attractions including long coastal lines with sandy and excellent beaches of Zanzibar. Tanzanians wildlife resources are considered among the supreme in the world and have been widely known for many years.
Tanzania hosts 7 World Heritage Sites both natural and cultural, namely the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Mount Kilimanjaro, Selous Game Reserve, Stone town of Zanzibar, Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara, and Kondoa Rock Art Paintings. There are equally many more attractions located all over the country. Tanzania's tourist attractions make one of the world’s fast-growing holiday destinations in Africa, and we look forward to improving the tourism industry by promoting Tanzania tourism in Turkey.
What do you want to say about Tanzania's national tradition and traditions, its habits, it’s thought structure and its lifestyle?
Tanzania culture is a delightful mix of influences with over 126 tribes. Tanzania is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Each of the 126 different tribes in Tanzania has their own distinct ways of life but together, they gracefully unite to form Tanzania traditions in social life, music, arts, customs, foods other national practices. Despite the eminent diversity and plurality of the tribes, almost all Tanzanians are fluent with the National language Swahili (Kiswahili). The second official language is English which is mainly used in official and business engagements.
Politeness, respect, and modesty are highly valued attributes in Tanzania’s traditional society. Pleasantries are very important and people often spend several minutes at the beginning of a conversation simply greeting each other. It is considered impolite to launch conversations without these formalities. Alongside greetings, handshakes are also an important part of social interactions. Tanzania has a very simple lifestyle giving importance to extended family networks and support to community where people live in. However, with increased rural-urban migration some of these values are slowly disappearing as people adopt urban lifestyles.
Tanzanian cuisine is unique and widely varied, having delicious foods from different regions of the country. The music industry in Tanzania stretches from traditional African music to distinctive modern genres. Also, traditional music is also unique reflecting diverse traditions and culture across the country, with distinctive traditional instruments.
Will you have activities to promote Tanzania in Turkey in the future? What kind of activities are you planning in this regard?
Yes, we have many ongoing and other plans to organize events and activities for the aim of promoting Tanzania in Turkey. We recently celebrated the Tanzania national in which we showcased a variety of Tanzania traditional ornaments, foods, music and videos about Tanzania and its potentials.
We aim to organize more promotional activities in order to promote Tanzania to people in Turkey. We intend to undertake cultural and tourism promotion activities, events to promote trade and investment opportunities, and also to engage in academic events to present lectures on Tanzania in Turkish institutions. We also look forward to participating in various fairs organized in Turkey, in which would be able to showcase more about Tanzania.
Africa, due to its dynamic and new market structure, allows all kinds of trade to be made. Tanzania is the stable and developing country of this giant market. In Tanzania, significant opportunities are provided for investment. What opportunities are there for Turkish businessmen in Tanzania? How can Turkish businessmen benefit from these opportunities?
Yes, you are quite right; Tanzania is a stable country with significant opportunities for trade and investment in various sectors. First, its strategic geographical location makes Tanzania an Investment and Business hub for East and Central Africa. It has a long coastline of about 1,200 km, four major ports, including one in Zanzibar, road networks, and railway line linking the port with several landlocked countries of Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Uganda, Zambia, and Malawi. Also, it is a member of two regional economic communities, the East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC). Tanzania has a population of over 57 million people and as a regional hub, it has a regional market of over 600 million people.
Second, Tanzania economy is among the fastest growing economies in Africa. The economy has been growing consistently over the past decade at an average growth rate of 6.8% annually. Furthermore, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, inflation rate has also been consistently falling. As of January 2019, the annual inflation rate decreased to 3%. The Tanzania economy is very diversified with opportunities in almost all sectors ranging from agriculture, agricultural processing to mining, transportation and manufacturing sectors. Given the diversity the economic activities are yet to reach its potential as such making available high investment and business opportunities in Tanzania.
Three, Tanzania has a robust tourism sector which is growing very fast. There are world-class touristic destinations which offer opportunities for investment in this sector. Other areas of investment include mining, livestock, transportation, energy, real estate, telecommunication, broadcasting, health and education sectors.
Fourth, the government is undertaking several major infrastructure projects including the construction of standard gauge railway (SGR), construction of new airports and renovating existing ones several airports, road construction, and construction of housing estates and several public buildings. Dodoma as the new capital of government there are major construction projects going on hence making available a host of opportunities in the construction sector.
Finally, there are opportunities for Turkish businesses to trade in agricultural products including cashew nits, sesame, coffee, tea chicken peas, cotton and tobacco which are produced in Tanzania.
Everything produced in Tanzania is said to be able to export to Europe, America, Japan, and China with zero Customs and zero quotas. Is that accurate?
Yes, it's accurate. According to Tanzania Revenue authority, there are no tax charges on the export of Tanzania goods and certain services to other countries, it is zero-rated (0%). This has been strategically decided in order to boost Tanzania exports and grow the Tanzania foreign currency reserve/ As such Turkish businesses are encouraged
However, on the importation side, there is a standard rate of 18 percent. But also, there is an exemption of tax on the importation of other specific products from other countries. Products such as Raw materials, capital goods, agricultural inputs, pure-bred animals, medicines, machinery, spares, and inputs imported by a licensed company for direct use in oil, gas, and geothermal exploration or mining activities.
Minister Pakdemirli stated on the Tanzania National Day event that, “The distance between Tanzania and Turkey is more than 5 thousand kilometers. However, with Turkish Airlines flights to Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, and Zanzibar, the distances are reduced and shortened this can lead to more human contact, trade and investments are easier." What would you like to say about this?
Yes, Turkish Airlines flies to three major cities in Tanzania, in addition Turkish Airlines Cargo flies to Dar es Salaam once a week. This has not only shortened the distance between Tanzania and Turkey but has also increased the mobility of people and facilitated growth of trade volumes. This initiative is of economic importance to both Tanzania and Turkey because increased economic activities means increased revenue to both countries.
Dear Ambassador, finally, do you have any messages you would like to convey to our readers?
Tanzania is a beautiful country endowed with exquisite resources; it is a land of Kilimanjaro, Serengeti and Zanzibar. Tanzania is graced with peaceful people; hospitality is ingrained in peoples’ culture. I would like to take this opportunity to invite Turkish people to make Tanzania one of their favorite holiday destinations. They will meet friendly people, peaceful atmosphere, enjoy beautiful beaches and visit some of the most exotic places.
Tanzania has visionary leaders who have vowed to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency in the implementation of social-economic activities. My main message to readers is that Tanzania is one of the most attractive holiday, business and foreign direct investment destination. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to invite Turks to Tanzania. Together, let us strengthen our bilateral relations for the mutual benefit of our people.