Looking at the dynamics of competition induced by East Africa Cooperation and Globalization in general, it is apparently clear that now, more than ever, we can't afford to continue with this behavior. If we keep on embracing such a postponing of processes, it will definitely put us at a competitive disadvantage with other competing countries.
Moreover, we need to fight this culture of excuses because it is morally wrong. For example, this week accidents left our beloved families dying from avoidable road accidents. The Kesho Culture has also left us watching our people dying from hunger while we are waiting for tomorrow to solve our food shortage problems. All of the mentioned examples signify why it is time to stop letting our challenges become excuses.
Examining the challenges coming with the East Africa Cooperation, I believe if we keep saying Kesho there is a big chance of turning the East Africa Cooperation from being an opportunity into a threat. Since we are at an irreversible commitment stage towards the integration of our countries, it means that running away from competition is not an option; we simply need to embrace the new opportunities coming with cooperation. This will mean opening up to the future and going on the offensive in terms of how we expand our business operations to other member state countries. However, opening up for the future also means being ready to compete in the areas of quality, innovation, costs, marketing and service delivery which we cannot escape from as a consequence of being a part of this interregional competition.For Tanzanian companies to take advantage of the opportunities from the East African market, they need leadership from our banks, TCCIA, CTI, BET and the Tanzania Business Council. I have yet to see a coherent trade promotion or any facilitation of an initiative from these institutions which are designed for our business expansion towards East African markets. Now, not tomorrow or later,we need to work out a comprehensive export or market entrance strategy with built-in provisions for incentives if we are serious about wanting to see our companies excel in this competition.
On the other hand, our local banks have made tremendous progress in the past ten years, but we still expect a lot from them as a part of a winning strategy. I was happy to hear that CRDB Bank plans to enter the Rwandan, Ugandan and Kenyan markets soon.
It's true that to turn the market opportunities created by East African communities into concrete gains requires our banks to play a key role by providing innovative products and services which will be an incentive to our local business to expand their operations to other East African countries.
For example, apart from financing, our banks can act as a frontline market intelligence service provider which will be a reliable source of commercial intelligence to our businesses and a critical enabler for understanding the markets. Moreover, it will also improve the ability of our companies to create a winning commercial strategy by reducing the time, cost and risk involved in selecting and entering in new markets.
Though I commend the plans for CRDB to open operations in other East Africa countries, I believe that singularity is not the best strategy for its expansion. Since most of our banks have similar shareholders, who are mostly pension funds and the Government, I think there is no need for every bank to establish itself as a single entity in other East African countries .They can choose an easy and economical way to penetrate and secure a competitive edge in the East African market. In my view, the best way for our banks to do so would be the formation of a strategic alliance through a Joint Venture which would pool their resources and skills together.
Through a Joint Venture they could establish a Tanzanian Bank Overseas (TBO) which would expand their capabilities and provide them with a competitive advantage in other East African countries and which would ensure high returns on investments.
In sum, I believe for us to keep pace with the dynamics coming with the East African Community, we must act quickly and decisively. We can do so by creating an aggressive and coherent wining strategy that is accomplished in a timely manner which will demonstrate our desire for change. If we do not act fast and keep embracing the Kesho culture, the dynamics of competition will not wait for us until tomorrow and opportunities for competitive advantages will pass us by.