Today I drove to work with a very interesting professional – Sean Murray, who among many of his many remarkable public service activities, at one stage provided technical guidance to the European Commission Committee on Industrial Cooperation between EU and ACP. We talked about Africa.
“If you send a document to your partners in Africa, you need to be very clear. The model of assistance cannot bring more confusion” - he said.
I couldn’t agree more. Later this year I am going to Tanzania with the Development Cooperation Centre and will be working there on a project that helps to empower African women from the outskirts of Dar es Salaam with the skills that would enable them to establish their own enterprises.
The project came to life in order to make seemingly difficult things easy. I remember the day when I sat down with Anna Michael – the Project Coordinator – in a restaurant in Dar es Salaam where she worked as a Manager/supervisor. She oversaw a group of 14 employees and was responsible for making all financial decisions. Consequently, she bought her food products from intermediary B2B companies: which provide the majority of products from the small producers in Dar es Salaam.
As she noticed, from the financial point of view, it would be far more favourable if the manufacturers themselves could provide the restaurant with the necessary products. However, small producers were more often than not unable to provide the invoices that the restaurant required for accounting purposes.
This is why Anna came up with an educational programme for small producers and we submitted her proposal to Polish Aid. The organisation was granted assistance by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and at the moment the workshops are already up and running.
What are the immediate objectives of the project?
• To adjust the way of doing business by the project beneficiaries to the prevailing contemporary conditions;
• Increasing the participation of local companies in the Tanzanian market;
• Empowering women who achieve financial independence by taking part in the project;
What inspired us to take it on?
According to the Confederation of Tanzania Industries only 20% of registered enterprises are Tanzanian. The rest are Indian (65%), European and South African (around 10% altogether) and Arab (approximately 5%).
Although the SME Development Policy from 2002 created a favourable environment for development of small and medium enterprises, and the Tanzanian Government has established a special agency BRELA (Business Registration and Licensing Agency), the whole procedure of establishing an enterprise may prove very difficult for many Tanzanians: for example, the contents of the BRELA’s website - are only in English, which for the majority of the inhabitants of Dar es Salaam is a huge obstacle. Other NGOs, like KBC Community Initiative Services, also promote enterprises, but their focus is on different regions like Mbeya, so we hope to be quite complementary to other donors work.
I am soon going to join the participants – my role is to provide women from the outskirts of Dar es Salaam with guidance on how to fill in the grant application forms in ... basic English ( I guess the use of English is due to financial accountability but still – it is a huge challenge for Tanzanians!). The workshops also intend to gather all the information currently available on setting up a business in the region from the many different sources out there (like a magazine „Start Up Biashara” – biashara=business; College of Business Education, by Bibititi Mohammed Road, which teaches how to effectively establish enterprises).
We will also learn how to fill in the Companies Ordinance (CAP.212) form (in English!). The fees for establishing an enterprise are reasonable – the application costs 5,000 Tsh (about 5 USD), annual registration fee - yearly - 1,000 Tsh (1 USD), name registration - 1,000 Tsh (1 USD), administrative costs - 200 Tsh (around 0,2 USD), payment for accountability - 1,000 Tsh (ok. 1 USD). BRELA is supposed to fulfill all the formalities within 3 working days.
The women will also be provided with access to the internet (ongoing workshops on how to operate a laptop!). During the course of the workshops they will be also writing project proposals. The 20 most successful projects will win a small grant for their operation.
We decided today you can contribute to our work! You can help people in Dar es Salaam! We therefore are looking forward to your comments and suggestions!
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