Tanzanian Billionaire Complains Over Ksh14 Billion Deal With Uhuru

  • Tanzanian Businessman Rostam Azizi (left) and President Uhuru Kenyatta (right)
    Tanzanian Businessman Rostam Azizi (left) and President Uhuru Kenyatta (right)
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  • Tanzanian billionaire Rostam Azizi has lamented over frustrations he experienced after a potential investment opportunity struck in a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta at Statehouse failed to take off.

    Speaking at the joint business summit between Kenya and Tanzania at Serena hotel in Nairobi, Azizi disclosed that in 2017, the president had invited him and other businessmen to convince them to invest in Kenya. 

    The businessman explained that he was ready to put up Ksh13.8 billion ($130 million) for a gas project in the country following his conversation with Uhuru.

    Tanzanian Tycoon Rostam Azizi speaking at Serena hotel in Nairobi on May 5, 2021.
    Tanzanian Tycoon Rostam Azizi speaking at Serena hotel in Nairobi on May 5, 2021.
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    "However, more than three years later, I am yet to get a response from the Kenyan agencies and the project is yet to take off.

    "I have encountered many obstacles trying to pursue the project without any significant progress," he lamented on Wednesday, May 5.

    Azizi, who was named the first Tanzanian dollar billionaire in 2013 by Forbes Magazine, claimed that Kenyan businesses had an unfair advantage when it came to doing business in their country.

    "The relationship between Kenya and Tanzania is skewed as it is very easy for Kenyans to come to Tanzania to invest with 530 Kenyan companies in Tanzania but there are only 30 Tanzanian companies in Kenya,"  he conveyed.

    He further stated that trade between the two countries was hindered by disputes which could be easily resolved.

    "The petty politics, protectionism, and other trivial issues impede economic development and areas of collaboration. We need a relationship that is beneficial to both Kenya and Tanzania," he noted.

    Azizi called on the respective Ministers of Trade as well as regulatory agencies to enhance efficiency in trade processes in the countries.

    During the summit, President Kenyatta welcomed Tanzanian traders to invest in Kenya and announced a raft of incentives including the lifting of work permits and visa requirements.

    “We would like to see many investors from Tanzania coming to do business in Kenya. And I want to say this, Tanzanian investors are free to come and do business in Kenya without being required to have business visas or work permits.

    "The only thing you will be required to do is to follow the laid down regulations and the laws that are in place,” President Kenyatta stated.

    Presidents Samia Suluhu (Tanzania) and Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya) at the joint business summit between Kenya and Tanzania at Serena hotel in Nairobi on May 5, 2021.
    Presidents Samia Suluhu (Tanzania) and Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya) at the joint business summit between Kenya and Tanzania at Serena hotel in Nairobi on May 5, 2021.
    PSCU