by Lucas Liganga
DAR ES SALAAM, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- Beatrice Matuntera, a young sales and marketing officer for Binti Africa Company Limited, a firm producing African-made fabrics, feels that the 4th Annual Southern African Development Community (SADC) Industrialization and Exhibition Week has come at the right moment.
Binti Africa Company Limited is among over 2,000 exhibitors from the SADC region displaying their merchandise at the exhibition outside the Chinese-built Julius Nyerere International Convention Center (JNICC) in the heart of the business capital Dar es Salaam.
Matuntera has reason to wear a broad smile to tens of hundreds of people visiting her pavilion, including Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa who visited her pavilion on Tuesday.
"The Prime Minister visited our pavilion on Tuesday and he promised us to come back and buy some of our fabrics," said the young sales woman in an interview with Xinhua, naming some of her other prominent clients as incumbent Tanzanian President John Magufuli, former President Jakaya Kikwete and Stergomena Tax, the SADC executive secretary.
Asked how her firm responded to a call by the premier to Tanzanian local manufacturers of various goods to capture the expansive market in the 16 member states of the SADC, Matuntera said the premier's advice was a business motivation to her firm.
"Although we have been selling our fabrics in South Africa and Malawi, we have started planning to spread our business wings in other SADC member states," says Matuntera.
Indeed, she says Majaliwa's visit to her pavilion instilled in her firm the courage to penetrate to the SADC market that has a combined population of 344 million.
Established in 1992, SADC is committed to regional integration and poverty eradication within southern Africa through economic development and ensuring peace and security.
"Tanzanian local industries are manufacturing goods that can compete in the SADC market and elsewhere," Majaliwa told a news conference shortly after he had visited the 4th Annual SADC Industrialization and Exhibition Week.
The event, which was officially opened by President John Magufuli on Monday, is part of activities ahead of the 39th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government planned for Aug. 17 and Aug. 18.
"I have been impressed with the high quality of goods manufactured by large, medium and small industries in Tanzania, including leather goods, food and beverages. These goods have a ready market in the SADC region," said Majaliwa.
Ladislaus Matindi, managing director of the revived national flag carrier Air Tanzania Company Limited, said the state-run airline is setting strategies to fly to five SADC member states to strengthen relationship, do business and facilitate economic growth in the region.
So far, the airline flies to South Africa, Zambia, the Comoros and Zimbabwe. According to Matindi, the national airline is working on strategies to fly to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Focus Mrosso, a senior manager for CRDB Bank Plc, a leading financial service provider in Tanzania with current presence in the east African nation and Burundi, said the bank has already started doing marketing research in the DRC.
"We are also making close follow-up of opportunities in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. There're a good number of Tanzanians doing businesses in these countries," Mrosso told Xinhua in an interview.
Established in 1996, the CRDB Bank is supporting the government in major investment projects.
The CRDB Bank has financed, through syndication, the standard gauge railway project to the tune of 104 million U.S. dollars, the Stiegler's Gorge hydropower project by 737 million dollars also through syndication. It has also financed agriculture projects for 161 million dollars and the bank has spent 96 million dollars on the country's industrialization initiatives.