News / Economy

Obama Arrives in Tanzania with Trade in Mind

President Barack Obama and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete stand for the national anthem during an official dinner at the State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, July 1, 2013.
President Barack Obama and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete stand for the national anthem during an official dinner at the State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, July 1, 2013.
Gabe Joselow
U.S. President Barack Obama has arrived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the last stop on his three-nation tour of Africa.  Mr. Obama will hold talks with his Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya Kikwete, and will continue his push to improve business ties with Africa’s booming economies.  
 “Obamamania” - that’s the headline of Tanzania’s Citizen newspaper Monday as the country welcomes the arrival of the U.S. president.
Obama’s portrait decorates the lampposts throughout the city, along with the Swahili greeting "Karibu Tanzania."
Residents of the city lined the streets coming from the airport to catch a glimpse of the presidential motorcade.
Boniface Deogratius, a student at Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology, has high hopes for Obama’s visit.
“We are just preparing ourselves to welcome him and even to share things together with the people from the United States, economically, socially, so we can move forward for the country,” he said.
Tanzania is among the biggest recipients of U.S. foreign assistance, much of it from a $700 million compact for infrastructure development from the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

But the U.S. president is hoping to increase private investment in the country.  Tanzania's economy is growing at a 7 percent annual rate, and hopes to benefit from recent natural gas discoveries off the coast.

Obama is holding a roundtable discussion with African and American business leaders, as he continues to lobby for increased trade with African countries.
U.S. investment in Africa is falling behind China, which says trade with the continent reached nearly $200 billion last year.
Chinese companies have a substantial presence in Tanzania, holding contracts for road construction and projects to improve the port of Dar es Salaam.

Obama’s trip to Tanzania comes four months after Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the country, soon after being elected.
Amedeus Shayo, who is among those waiting to see the presidential motorcade, says he thinks competition with China was a major factor in Obama’s decision to visit.
“China has overtaken the United States in Africa.  Honestly saying, I’ve been reading all the news, I’ve seen all the investments that are happening here, it’s just because China has taken this country,” says Shayo.
Obama traveled to Tanzania from South Africa, where, in a major speech in Cape Town, he announced the United States will contribute $7 billion to a new initiative called Power Africa, which the president said seeks to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa.
Tanzania is one of the countries targeted by the program. Obama is expected to speak more about the initiative on Tuesday, during a scheduled visit to Tanzania’s Ubungo power plant on the last day of his Africa tour.

  • U.S. President Barack Obama heads a soccer ball at Ubungo Power Plant in Dar es Salaam, July 2, 2013. The ball called a "soccket ball" has internal electronics that allows it to generate and store electricity that can power small devices.
  • U.S. First lady Michelle Obama walks with Salma Kikwete, wife of Tanzania's president, during a departure ceremony in Dar es Salaam, July 2, 2013.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama and former president George W. Bush (left) attend a memorial for the victims of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombing in Dar es Salaam, July 2, 2013.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, and Tanzanian first lady Salma Kikwete wave as they arrive at State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, July 1, 2013.
  • President Barack Obama and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete walk in front of Michelle Obama and Salma Kikwete as they arrive at the State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, July 1, 2013.
  • Young girls and women wear the khanga, a traditional wrap, with the image of U.S. President Barack Obama as they line up to greet him at the State House, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, July 1, 2013.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama writes in a guest book as he tours Robben Island with first lady Michelle Obama, near Cape Town, June 30, 2013.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama departs the Robben Island prison cell where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years of imprisonment near Cape Town, June 30, 2013.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama listens to Desmond Tutu as he visits his HIV Foundation Youth Center and takes part in a health event in Cape Town, June 30, 2013.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama greets participants at a town hall-style meeting with young African leaders at the University of Johannesburg in Soweto, June 29, 2013.
  • Members of the White House traveling staff walk to a group of helicopters about to transport U.S. President Barack Obama from a soccer field in Johannesburg, June 29, 2013.
  • Protesters argue with police outside the University of Johannesburg in Soweto, ahead of a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama, June 29, 2013.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama look out of a doorway that slaves departed from on Goree Island, Senegal, June 27, 2013.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama visits a food security expo in Dakar, Senegal, June 28, 2013.
  • People line the motorcade route of U.S. President Barack Obama on his way to meet with Senegalese President Macky Sall in Dakar, June 27, 2013.

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Comment Sorting
by: Juma from: Morogoro-Tanzania
July 05, 2013 1:34 AM
I hope there is more than business it self, the issue of democracy and human right also influence Obama in Tanzania but this not only what is on American mind, in fact they have a long term in their mind is themselves they will heartfelt declare whats up, only time will discover the truth

by: Andrew Msunga from: Dar es salaam - TANZANIA
July 01, 2013 5:47 PM
President Obama and invite traders older Americans to come and invest in transportation, yet Tanzania we hangaiika in obtaining reliable transportation, rail our are obsolete, yet also commuter buses in major cities such as Dar es Salaam, people are struggling even though we have the Indian Ocean which would reduce congestion. TANZANIA AND FEEL WELCOME YOU HOME

by: joab from: kampala
July 01, 2013 11:30 AM
I don't think china have already overtaken USA trade in Africa, if its true its very unfortunate. for me i have been in Tanzania for five years, the Chinese are doing porter works, they are digging trenches themselves, they are laying bricks, they eat roasted Irish potatoes and water for there lunch is the same they do in Uganda , unless if its there country mission to be cheap and overtake USA , i will accept, thanks

by: FeedbackAfrica from: Princeton, New Jersey
July 01, 2013 11:19 AM
U.S. Exports to Tanzania are dominated by machinery, computer products, chemicals and used merchandise. How will President Obama’s visit to Tanzania make a difference? Time will tell.

by: Demitu Wake
July 01, 2013 10:17 AM
President Obama visited the East African nation of Tanzania with BUSINESS IN MIND. It is reported that Tanzania’s growth is 7%. This figure is far less than the double digit growth that the leaders of other East African nation, Ethiopia, are claiming for the past 8 years. Tanzania has half a population size of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is the host for many international and regional organizations including AU. We Ethiopian’s ask: why did not the double digit growth in Ethiopia did not invite President Obama’s tour of ‘BUSINESS IN MIND’?
In Response

by: Demitu Wake
July 03, 2013 7:52 AM
As an Ethiopian I am aware of the problems in Ethiopia. I am also aware that Electric Power is a key. The point of discussion here is business and what is favorable for business. It is true that business in Ethiopia is controlled by the government or companies of the ruling party. But, there are also other favorable conditions in Ethiopia such as work force and market. Ethiopia is the second populous country in Africa and geographically well situated (except that it is landlocked). The issues of human right and democracy have to be left for us, Ethiopians. We will deal with it by our own. We know when to remain silent and when to standup for our rights.
In Response

by: belay from: Ethiopia
July 02, 2013 6:03 AM
My friend, the power sector is the key to modernize a nation so that there will be more consumers for American products and the US has a share of it in Tanzania but in Ethiopia the industry is still in the governments hand. In general almost all the economic sectors are either under the government or Ethiopian private owners. So far, there is no room for American businesses in Ethiopia. That is why Obama is not coming to here. But some funny people dare to say the reason is democracy or human right related. Any ways hope God will keep Americans away from our soil. They are manipulators and it very hard to do business with them.
In Response

by: Diane Strong from: New York City
July 01, 2013 11:47 AM
President Obama's trip to Tanzania is way overdue, and Ethiopia gets far more coverage in the international press than Tanzania does. Every country has its issues, and Tanzania has desperately needed the world's attention. There is growing repression in Tanzania that has been given NO COVERAGE. Trade might be the excuse for the visit, but human rights issues need to be addressed. Why is there always such fierce competition for attention between African nations? This is not the last visit that an American President will make to the region!

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