Indian business, commercial and professional interests in Tanzania are growing. According to Tanzania Investment Center (TIC) data, over 300 enterprises with Indian interests exist in Tanzania with investments of over $1.8 billion supporting over 50,000 jobs locally. Currently, India is the third largest investing country in Tanzania. According to EPZ Authority of Tanzania, additional investments of Indian origin in EPZs throughout Tanzania amount to over $ 400 million.
Major Indian truck, bus and automobile manufacturers, three-wheeler vehicles, tractors, telecom, IT, pharmaceutical products, chemical products, security systems, herbal products, steel pipes, etc, are well represented in Tanzania. Healthcare and air services companies are also making their presence felt here.
Business persons and investors from India approach the High Commission of India and Indians resident in the country, for information, guidance and assistance in their quest to establish businesses in diverse fields like agricultural and farm products, steel, sugar, fertilizers, oil and gas, seeds, bio-fuels, assembly of three-wheelers and tractors, telecom infrastructure, etc,.
Indian companies are participating in public tenders for large projects funded by multilateral agencies and GOI, like electricity transmission systems, roads, supply of electricity generation and distribution equipment, water supply projects, supply of passenger and goods transport vehicles, IT and telecom solutions, etc,.
Several hundred professional managers, engineers, accountants, lawyers, teachers, NGOs, etc, from India are spread out over various parts of Tanzania. Of the over 7000 Indian nationals currently resident in Tanzania, the majority could be categorized as professionals providing services to various firms and entities in this country.
The Indian High Commission and some leading members of the Indian community resident in Tanzania felt the need to bring under one umbrella organization all these diverse interests. A voluntary Core Group was formed in late 2012 to look at various options on how to mobilize these Indian interests in Tanzania The Core Group was catalyzed by Mr. Kunal Roy, former Counsellor of the High Commission who regularly convened meetings of the group to discuss and take concrete steps once goals were identified. The group chose its sectoral leaders including an interim Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.
While the ‘Indian Business Forum’ (IBF) represents the interests of businesses and professionals originating from India, it was felt that host country or Tanzanian registered firms and individuals resident in the country with business and professional interests in India should also find a role in this organization, particularly since those holding PIO and OCI status have legitimate businesses and investments India.
The Core Group studied the constitutions and experiences of similar groups existing in the country representing the business and professional interests of South Africa, Britain, USA, China and Turkey among others. It developed and fine-tuned a Constitution for the organization styled as ‘Indian Business Forum’ (IBF), details of which can be seen at Constitution of IBF. The IBF applied for registration with the Registrar of Societies, under the Ministry of Home Affairs in mid-July 2013. Registration was granted on 5th September 2013, establishing IBF as a legal entity in Tanzania. The organization was formally launched by Hon’ble Minister of State for Commerce and Industry of India, Dr. (Mrs.) D. Purandeswari on 25th September 2013 during her official visit to Tanzania, when she unveiled the logo of the IBF in the presence of senior Tanzanian government leaders at the launch of ‘The India Show’ in Dar es Salaam.