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Business Opportunities Kenyans Pursue In Tanzania
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Business Opportunities Kenyans Pursue In Tanzania

Tanzania is known for its diverse economy, rich culture, and abundant natural resources, offering a promising landscape for business ventures. With a population of over 60 million people and a strategic location in East Africa, Tanzania presents numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs seeking to expand their business horizons. 

The country's GDP has steadily grown over the years, fueled by government-led reforms to attract foreign investment and promote private-sector participation. These reforms include initiatives to enhance the ease of doing business, including streamlining regulatory processes, reducing bureaucracy, and promoting transparency.  

Against the backdrop of Tanzania's flourishing economy, many Kenyan entrepreneurs are venturing into the Tanzanian market, seeking to capitalize on the country's growth prospects. 

One of the primary motivations for Kenyan entrepreneurs to expand into Tanzania is the quest for new markets and growth opportunities beyond their home country. Despite being the largest economy in East Africa, Kenya is facing saturation in some sectors, prompting entrepreneurs to explore neighboring markets for expansion. With its large population and growing middle class, Tanzania presents an attractive market for Kenyan goods and services, ranging from consumer products to professional services.

Read Also: How to Start a Business; Step-By-Step

What Do You Need To Start A Business In Tanzania?

As a citizen of a member country of the East African Community (EAC), you can benefit from certain privileges and simplified procedures when doing business in Tanzania under the EAC Common Market Protocol

The EAC Common Market Protocol guarantees the freedom of establishment, allowing EAC citizens to establish and operate businesses in Tanzania without discrimination or restrictions based on nationality. This means you can set up and own a business in Tanzania on the same terms as Tanzanian citizens. 

When registering your business in Tanzania as an EAC citizen, you can benefit from simplified procedures and reduced registration fees compared to non-EAC citizens. You will still need to follow the standard business registration process with the relevant authorities, such as the Business Registration and Licensing Agency (BRELA) or the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), but you may encounter fewer bureaucratic hurdles. 

A self-employed Kenyan who intends to take up and pursue economic activities or to set up and manage economic undertakings in Tanzania will need to apply for a work permit within thirty working days from the date of entry into Tanzania. Upon your application, you shall be issued with a special pass before the formalities for establishment are completed. 

A special pass will allow you to obtain relevant licenses, apply for individual and company Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs), and register your business. You might also need to get a go-ahead from relevant authorities to establish your business to obtain a work permit, which is issued after 30 days. An EAC work permit is valid for two years and can be renewed 30 days before it expires.  

Pros and Cons of Starting a Business in Tanzania


  1. Regional Integration: Tanzania is part of the EAC, facilitating cross-border trade and investment opportunities with neighboring countries such as DRC, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. 
  1. Investment Incentives: The Tanzanian government, through the Tanzania Investment Centre, offers various investment incentives, such as tax breaks, duty exemptions, and investment guarantees, to attract foreign investors and stimulate economic growth. 
  1. Political stability: Tanzania is peaceful and offers a conducive environment for businesses to operate and prosper in the long term.
  1. Availability of cheap workforce: Tanzania has a readily available labour market with skilled and semi-skilled workers to work in various industries.
  1. Cultural Affinity: Kenyan entrepreneurs may find adapting to the Tanzanian market easier due to shared cultural similarities, language (Swahili), and historical ties between the two countries.


  1. Bureaucracy and Red Tape: Kenyan entrepreneurs may encounter bureaucratic hurdles, lengthy administrative procedures, and delays in obtaining permits and licenses, which can hinder business operations and increase costs. 
  1. Infrastructure Challenges: Despite improvements, Tanzania's infrastructure still faces challenges, particularly in remote areas, including inadequate road networks, unreliable power supply, and limited access to modern amenities. 
  1. Market Competition: Tanzania's market can be highly competitive, with local and international players vying for market share, making it challenging for new entrants to establish themselves and differentiate their offerings. 
  1. Limited Access to Finance: Access to finance remains a challenge for many entrepreneurs in Tanzania, with the limited availability of credit, high interest rates, and stringent lending criteria from financial institutions.  

Read Also: 7 Signs That Your New Business is Destined to Fail

Business Opportunities in Tanzania

  1. Agribusiness

Agribusiness in Tanzania offers Kenyan entrepreneurs an opportunity to leverage their expertise in agriculture and tap into the country's vast agricultural potential. Tanzania boasts fertile land, favorable climate conditions, and abundant natural resources, making it suitable for various agricultural activities. 

Growing demand for domestic and international agricultural products presents opportunities for Kenyan entrepreneurs to supply crops, livestock, and value-added products to the Tanzanian market and export to other countries, including Kenya. Agribusiness encompasses various activities, including crop farming, livestock rearing, agro-processing, agricultural inputs, machinery, and chemical supply.

Kenyan entrepreneurs can start by conducting market research to identify viable opportunities and suitable agribusiness to focus on. They can then acquire land, obtain necessary permits and licenses, and invest in inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, and equipment. Building partnerships with local farmers, cooperatives, and agribusiness associations can also facilitate access to resources and markets.

  1. Small Scale Manufacturing

Small-scale manufacturing involves producing goods in limited quantities using local resources and labor. Kenyan entrepreneurs can start by identifying a niche market or product category with high demand and low competition. They can then secure funding, establish a production facility, procure raw materials and equipment, and adhere to quality standards and regulatory requirements. 

Small-scale manufacturing in Tanzania gives Kenyan entrepreneurs opportunities to produce goods locally and cater to the growing demand for manufactured products in various industries. Tanzania's industrialization agenda and government support for local production create a conducive environment for small-scale manufacturers to thrive. 

Tanzania's manufacturing sector is expanding, driven by increasing urbanization, rising disposable incomes, and government initiatives to promote industrialization and value addition. Demand for a wide range of manufactured goods, including consumer products, construction materials, textiles, and processed foods, provides ample opportunities for small-scale manufacturers to meet market needs.

Read Also: Factors That Kill Micro Businesses 

  1. Local Tourism Company

Tanzania is renowned for its diverse tourist attractions, including national parks, wildlife reserves, cultural heritage sites, and pristine beaches. This industry significantly contributes to the country's economy, attracting millions of international visitors annually. Kenyan entrepreneurs passionate about tourism and hospitality can capitalize on Tanzania's tourism potential to create unique and memorable experiences for travelers. 

Recently, there has been a growing demand for authentic and immersive travel experiences, including safari tours, cultural encounters, adventure activities, and beach vacations. Kenyan entrepreneurs can cater to this demand by offering personalized tour packages, accommodation, transportation, and ancillary services to domestic and international tourists. 

Whether you are a small-scale investor or a big one, there are many niches to consider, as the tourism industry is vast. 

Start by researching gaps in this otherwise competitive market, identify target markets and customer preferences, and build a business that separates you from competitors. Finally, consider creating a strong online presence through websites, social media, and online booking platforms to help reach a wider audience and attract customers from around the globe. 

  1. Digital Services Provider 

Tanzania's digital economy is experiencing rapid growth, driven by increasing internet penetration, smartphone adoption, and digital innovation that led to the emergence of tech-savvy consumers. 

Kenyan entrepreneurs with expertise in digital services, such as software development, e-commerce, cybersecurity, and digital marketing, can capitalize on Tanzania's burgeoning digital market. There is a growing demand for digital solutions to address business challenges, improve efficiency, and enhance customer experiences. 

Kenyan entrepreneurs can leverage their skills and experience to provide high-quality digital services tailored to Tanzanian businesses and consumers. 

To set up, you will need to start by identifying market needs and target industries and building a portfolio of services. Next, you will need to get relevant licenses and register your business. Once you are set, you can collaborate with local companies, startups, and organizations to gain insights into market trends, build networks, and find potential customers.

  1. Consulting Services

Consulting services encompass a wide range of professional advisory services, including management consulting, financial advisory, legal services, human resources consulting, and technical consultancy. Tanzanian businesses and organizations often seek expert advice and support to address strategic, operational, and regulatory challenges, presenting opportunities for experienced Kenyan professionals to provide value-added solutions. 

Tanzania's demand for consulting services is driven by economic growth, business expansion, regulatory reforms, and increasing market competition. Kenyan consultants can offer specialized expertise, industry insights, and best practices to help clients improve performance, enhance efficiency, and achieve their business objectives. 

Establishing a consulting services business involves identifying a niche market or specialization, building expertise, and credentials in the chosen area, and marketing services to potential clients. 

Kenyan consultants can start by conducting market research to understand client needs, competitive landscape, and other industry-specific requirements. They can then develop service offerings, pricing structures, and marketing strategies to attract clients and differentiate themselves in the market.

  1. Handyman Business

The handyman business involves providing a range of repair, maintenance, and installation services to residential and commercial clients. With Tanzania's growing urbanization and construction activities, there is a demand for skilled tradespeople to address property maintenance needs and home improvement projects. 

Kenyan entrepreneurs can offer various services, including plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, painting, and general repairs, to homeowners, property managers, and businesses seeking reliable and affordable handyman solutions. Suppose you have the necessary skills, expertise, and certifications. In that case, you will need to register your company, invest in essential tools and equipment, open up shop, and start marketing your services to attract clients. 

Handyman businesses also provide opportunities for entrepreneurship and self-employment, allowing individuals to leverage their skills and expertise to build a successful business. However, challenges such as competition from informal providers, liability risks, and seasonality in demand may pose obstacles to handyman businesses. 

Read Also: Money and Me: I Don't Really Have to Own a Business


The government of Tanzania welcomes foreign direct investment and has implemented measures to facilitate foreigners' starting businesses in the country. However, you must comply with the relevant laws and regulations if you want your business to succeed. 

According to the East African Community Common Market (Right of Establishment) Regulations, Tanzania can cancel your work permit as a self-employed person. They can do this if: 

  1. You are expelled or deported from the country. 
  2. You cease to engage in the economic activity/business for which the work permit was issued. 
  3. You obtained the work permit fraudulently. 

If your work permit is canceled, you will have thirty days to regularise and obtain a new one or to leave the country. 

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Farah Nurow is an experienced Content Writer who enjoys writing creative and educative articles meant to provoke readers' thoughts. He loves sunny weather and thick books. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

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