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Retired Permanent Secretary and investment consultant, Dr Adelhelm Meru, has called on state and private sector decision makers to adequately use existing economic processing zones to speed up the country’s industrialisation drive and make Tanzania a middle-income nation in the next seven years.
Dr Meru told a Public-Private Dialogue meeting that attracted senior government officials and members of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) in Dodoma recently that present zones should be profitably used and more zones created. He said at the moment creation of industrial parks is inevitable. He defined an industrial park as an area zoned and planned for the purpose of industrial development, further explaining that the park is one form of special economic zone (SEZ).
Dr Meru described an SEZ as selected geographical area which is provided with special business environment to promote priority economic activities, adding that the SEZ may include industrial parks, Export Processing Zones, free trade zones, free ports, tourist parks, science and technological parks.
The consultant said Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda have made significant economic gains by making good use of economic processing zones. Outside Africa, he named China as the country, which he said has used the zones to make economic wonders within three decades.
He explained that since l978, China has focused on producing and exporting products from EPZs, turning itself into a world economic giant. “China has made miracles in the world of industries. It has made huge development strides using industries. In 2010 Chinese economy was declared the second largest economy in the world,” he said. Dr Meru called on Tanzania’s decision makers to take a leaf from China.