Sri Lanka and Tanzania to expand business relations…

Sri Lanka and Tanzania opened a new chapter in business and investment promotion between the two countries with the launch of the Sri Lanka Tanzania Investment Chamber in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania last week.

The business chamber was officially inaugurated by the chief guest at the occasion, Tourism Development, Christian Religious Affairs and Lands Minister John Amaratunga.

In his keynote address at the launch Amaratunga noted that the business and investment chamber was launched at the right time. “With both countries enjoying a period of economic revival under their respective new governments this is the best possible time for an initiative of this nature. This chamber has laid the foundation for investment promotion. We want to promote partnerships,” he pointed out. The inaugural meeting of the Sri Lanka Tanzania Business Chamber drew much attention in Tanzania and saw the participation of key government officials including Tanzanian Ministers of Tourism, Investment Promotion, Agriculture and Education. A Sri Lankan businessman in Tanzania, Lal Silva was appointed as Chairman of the chamber. “This chamber should serve as the vehicle for Sri Lankan and Tanzanian businesspeople to explore investment opportunities available to them in the two countries,” he said. The visiting Sri Lankan minister said he was happy to note that the Sri Lanka Tanzania Business Chamber was working closely with the Tanzania Investment Chamber which comes under the Trade and Investments Ministry in Tanzania. “Sri Lanka is very keen on attracting foreign direct investment into the country. My participation at this meeting is also in furtherance of that policy. As the minister in charge of the subject of tourism, I would like to take this opportunity to invite members of the Tanzanian business community to look at ways and means of connecting with our tourism industry.

The opportunities for collaboration are many. Tourism in Sri Lanka offers huge potential for investment. Areas that were previously out of bounds to tourists due to the conflict are opening up for investment. Some of these places are rich in wildlife, a sector that Tanzania has much experience and expertise in. We are open to the concept of tourism exchange programmes where both countries can benefit from each other’s experience,” said Amaratunga. Amaratunga said that Sri Lanka was becoming a sought-after destination for health and wellness tourism. He told the Tanzanian officials to look in to the possibility of arranging exchange programmes where Sri Lanka is promoted as a health and wellness destination for outbound Tanzanian tourists while Tanzania will be promoted as a wildlife destination for outbound Sri Lankan tourists. Following the inauguration of the chamber, Minister Amaratunga held wide ranging discussions with Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism of Tanzania, Prof. Jumanne Maghembe and other top officials.

The Tanzanian Minister said as a follow up to the meeting a forum will be organized focusing on the areas of tourism, fisheries, agriculture, minerals and mines, and health with the active participation of the new chamber. As the first business venture of the Sri Lanka Tanzania Investment Chamber, fiberglass fishing boats manufactured in Sri Lanka by Danusha Marine will be made available to the Tanzanian fishing community, which still predominantly uses boats made out of wood. Speaking at the event the Tanzanian Minister Jumanne Maghembe said his government would place an order for 500 of the boats as an initial step.