Diplomatist Special Report - Tanzania Tanzania 2018 - Page 24

TANZANIA LAND OF OPPORTUNITIES An Indian Perspective By AMB. (RETD.) DEBNATH SHAW A frica in general, and Tanzania in particular, are a happening continent and country, respectively. Tanzania’s economy has been growing steadily, with about 7 percent growth rate per annum in the past fi fteen years. Growth is estimated to have dipped to 6.5 percent in 2017 due to fall in commodity prices and other international factors, but is still the highest among the East African Community (EAC) members. With about 40 percent each of the total population practicing the Christian and Muslim faiths, and the rest various other religions, including Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism, this multi-religious and multi-tribal country enjoys unique political peace and social stability, unparalleled in this region. An independent Tanganyika came into existence as a political entity in 1961 without any violence or bloodshed and underwent various political transformations since then – in1964 to Tanzania in a Union with Zanzibar; in 1967 a socialist shift with the Arusha Declaration; and in 1992 with the introduction of multiparty democracy. All this has been achieved peacefully and without any disturbance. Diplomatic Relations and Bilateral Cooperation between India and Tanzania India recognised and established diplomatic ties with Tanzania soon after its independence in 1961. In the fi rst three decades, bilateral relations were deeply entwined with Afro-Asian and South-South solidarity, and the common struggle against colonialism and apartheid, and preference for non-alignment. India’s own economic and social struggles and meager resources did not permit it to play a large role in Tanzania’s quest to modernise and stand on its own feet. However, India did help in capacity building with teachers, doctors, and engineers from India assisting their Tanzanian 24 •TANZANIA counterparts to keep the wheels of education, health, and other basic services functional after the British left. After India’s own success with economic reforms in the 1990s leading to higher growth and prosperity, its ability and willingness to partner with Tanzania in its development programmes increased significantly. The development partnership processes with Africa which evolved from IAFS-I in 2008, has seen Tanzania as a major benefi ciary of projects funded by Indian grants-in-aid and lines of credit (LOCs), and utilisation of large numbers of ITEC training slots. Today, bilateral cooperation engulfs many spheres like defence, S&T, education, cultural exchanges, etc. A substantial number of Tanzanians travel to India for medical services and several hundred students are studying in Indian schools, colleges, and universities. There are over 50,000 people of Indian origin (PIOs) in Tanzania and over 10,000 Indian nationals live and work in the country as teachers, doctors, managers, engineers, technicians, accountants, etc, and in running their own businesses. Tourism, particularly wildlife safari tours and the white sands of Zanzibar, are a major draw for Indian tourists to the country, a sector which is on an upward trajectory. India-Tanzania Exports and Imports India has been one of Tanzania’s leading trade partners in the last few years. Total trade between the two countries was estimated to be $2.7 billion in 2016-17, with Indian exports standing at $1.78 billion and Tanzanian exports at $948 million. Major items of import from India are petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, buses, trucks, cars and three- wheelers, tractors and farm equipment, auto parts, electrical machinery and equipment, iron and steel products, plastic