• Mr. Edwin N. Rutageruka, Director General of Tanzania Trade development Authority (TanTrade) spoke to Business Insider SSA about the fair.
  • About 35 companies, big, middle sized and small sized companies pitched their tents at the expo.
  • The theme of the expo was ‘Promotion of Tanzania Products and Services in Kenya’

The first ever made in Tanzania exhibition curtains came down yesterday on a high note.

Dubbed Tanzania week in Kenya, the trade exhibition held at Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) began on April 25th  and closed on 28th.

‘Promotion of Tanzania Products and Services in Kenya’ was the theme and Tanzania hopes the exhibition will create a platform for intensified trade between Tanzania and Kenya.

Speaking exclusively to Business Insider SSA, Mr. Edwin N. Rutageruka, Director General of Tanzania Trade development Authority (TanTrade) who is also the chairman of the Tanzania week in Kenya organizing committee said they hoped to use the exhibition to enter the Kenyan market with a bang.

“The objective of coming here is to increase the market share of Tanzania products which are already in the market but again for those products which are new in the market we want to see how best they can penetrate the Kenyan market.” Said  Mr. Rutageruka.

The Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TanTrade) is an institution under the ministry of Industry, trade and investment mandated to support both foreign and domestic trade development

It was established under the Tanzania Trade Development Authority Act No.4 of 2009 as amended by Business Laws (miscellaneous) Act No. 3 of 2012.

“The good thing is that everybody is really excited to see that we are unblocking the Non-Tariff Barriers which are hindering smooth trade operations between Kenya and Tanzania and I want to tell every person out there that Tanzania is open and ready to support them, we are ready to work and partner with other countries to promote trade and investment in Tanzania, in case of any assistance come to TanTrade which is a government institution and serves as a link between the private sector and the government, Tanzania is open for business.”

Mr. Rutageruka said the four day event was a big success and buoyed by the positive response of the Kenyan market Tanzania will now embark on even a bigger trade fair and exhibition in the coming months to penetrate the Kenyan market even further.

“The mission has been successful, it was officially opened on 25th by the minister of Agriculture and irrigation and Tanzania High Commissioner to Kenya, H.E. Dr. Pindi Chana, we had about 300 invitees, businessmen, ambassadors and government officials were all here. We also had a B2B season where more than 100 companies had a one on one kind of interactions, on 26th April which is the Tanzania Union Day we had about  400 dignitaries and we enjoyed Tanzanian food,  Tanzanian drinks, the coffees, Konyagi, wines, beers you know everyone was very happy and yesterday (27th April) we had a very engaging Tanzania Kenya business forum which was graced by several government officials including Kenya’s  Principal Secretary for Trade DR. Chris Kiptoo so the whole trade fair and exhibition was very successful.”

About 35 companies, big, middle sized and small sized ranging from agro processing, textiles, hospitality, food industry to construction companies offering a variety of unique and quality Tanzanian products all pitched their tents at the expo.

One of the many entrepreneurs present was Venja Manese, the proprietor of Venja African Designs which specializes in production of African wear said she was happy she attended the trade exhibition and actually hopes the number of exhibition can actually be increased.

“We have realized a lot of Kenyan women and men like our African designs wears and we are looking for ways in which we can collaborate with both the Tanzanian and Kenyan embassy so that we can have more exhibitions three or four times in a year, every three months we have one so that even if a customer misses one or doesn’t find a particular product this time round they can be sure of attending or getting it during the next exhibition.”

Isaac Mohammed from Mahanjumati spices and herbs based in Zanzibar said he was pleasantly surprised by the positive market reaction and Kenyans warmth and they are now looking for distributors from Kenya to supply their products.

“Honestly speaking we were not sure of the kind of response we would get in Kenya we thought this will be all business and nothing more keeping in mind this was our first time here but we were pleasantly surprised by how positive we were received and we managed to sold all our products which is great all we await to do is once we get back home to confirm on potential distributors.”

The theme of the trade exhibition may have been ‘Promotion of Tanzania Products and Services in Kenya’ but it could as well have been ‘Ushirikiano na udugu’ Swahili for cooperation and brotherhood because every official and entrepreneur I spoke to, they could not stress enough on the need for cooperation and the unnecessary competition between Kenya and Tanzania to come to an end, Kenya needs to support Tanzania where it has an edge and Tanzania needs to support Kenya where it has an edge, doing that and the two nations may not only prosper but thrive, I couldn't’t agree more.