TANZANIA – The European Union (EU) has earmarked US$16.2 million to enhance the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Tanzania’s blue economy. 

In partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB), this funding will augment loans to local banks, improving financial accessibility for a pivotal segment of Tanzania’s economy.

This initiative was unveiled following a five-day visit by EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros and EU Deputy Ambassador to Tanzania Emilio Rossetti. 

On 5 July 2024, both dignitaries signed a Declaration of Intent, signaling a strengthened EU-Tanzania partnership under the EU Global Gateway Strategy.

Mr. Östros emphasized that the grant would support advisory services and technical assistance in the initial financing stages, equipping companies for future commercial investments. 

He highlighted that reducing the risk for local banks would ease SMEs’ access to essential capital.

Mr. Östros noted that the financial support signed last year has already benefitted over 10,000 end beneficiaries, including more than 3,000 women-led businesses and over 900 blue economy enterprises and cooperatives in Zanzibar.

This initiative focuses heavily on gender and the blue economy, sectors traditionally facing substantial financial barriers.

Mr. Östros remarked, “This package directly supports the Global Gateway and aligns seamlessly with the priority sectors of the Tanzanian government and the development goals of the EU and EIB.”

Tanzania’s blue economy has shown robust growth and resilience, buoyed by private sector development. 

The government’s collaborations with local, regional, and international partners have established the country as a critical player in the EU Global Gateway initiative. 

In 2020, major blue-economy industries in Tanzania contributed US$7.2 billion to gross value added (GVA) and employed over 2 million people. 

The value of the ecosystem services was approximately US$104.24 billion, with large permanent freshwater lakes contributing significantly (74.87%).

Liked this article? Subscribe to DealStreet Africa News, our regular email newsletter with the latest news, deals and insights from Africa’s business, economy, and moreSUBSCRIBE HERE