Chamber of Commerce

SME development: industry and agriculture in the Kigoma regio


Discover this growth program...

Programme Coach: 

Johan Hosselaer 


Eugene Nicolaes

Company Partners:

PASS Tanzania Image result for icoon link

Bank of Africa Tanzania Image result for icoon link

Kigoma is one of the poorest regions in Tanzania and receives very little attention from international donors. The region, however, has considerable potential for economic development. The Belgian development cooperation, in this region, focuses primarily in the areas of water supply and sustainable agriculture. For some years, Exchange has been developing activities in the region in order to realize maximum synergy with the federal development cooperation. Exchange explicitly focuses its interventions on the ground in support of the private sector. To this end, Exchange set up a first collaboration with the Tanzanian Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture in Kigoma (TCCIA) in 2015.

TCCIA was founded at national level in 1988 with the aim of strengthening private sector development by offering advocacy, information, service and training. The government supports policy activities of TCCIA but does not provide funds for the operation of the various chambers. The member contribution forms the operating resources for TCCIA. TCCIA is currently represented in all 92 regional districts. TCCIA Tanzania has more than 10 years of experience in setting up and managing Community Based Microfinance Groups (MFIs).

In the Kigoma region, TCCIA has been active since 1997 and has more than 2000 members (with various profiles, both family income-generating activities and SMEs). Since 2005, TCCIA Kigoma has been setting up MFIs as a way of offering financial services to very small businesses in the area.

An enabling environment for a powerful business climate, stimulating access to financial services and credit

The financial services organized by TCCIA, so-called MFIs, although well managed, are too small and fragmented to be effective and actually contribute to the business climate in Kigoma. Exchange has been active for several years in realizing entrepreneurship projects in Kigoma and recognizes that an innovative approach is necessary to create a truly 'enabling environment' for poverty reduction through entrepreneurship.

To this end, Exchange already cooperated with TCCIA Kigoma in 2015. Johan Hosselaer, a financial expert, took the first steps to further professionalize TCCIA's services. The conclusions of this initial collaboration were that TCCIA is a strong player in the field of granting microcredits, but that the actual provision of business development support to the SME's in the region is hardly discussed. Facilitating the access to affordable bank credits for this group turned out to be a very big need to create an 'enabling environment'. In 2017, the collaboration with TCCIA Kigoma was deepened and a growth program was set up in which TCCIA, in partnership with other local service providers and local banks, developed a structure in which TCCIA members have access to affordable bank credits combined with intensive business development guidance.

Development of a structural economic partnership

To realize this growth program and to guarantee its sustainability and local embedding, Exchange is working on the set up of a structural economic partnership in the region. The provision of financial services and business support is a new activity for TCCIA. Cooperation with regular service providers in these areas is therefore recommended. The growth program is in this sense both a program aimed at the further professionalization of TCCIA and a process aimed at realizing a local economic partnership in Kigoma.

  1. The core objectives in the detailed growth program are: Professionalize the services of TCCIA
  2. Making banking services accessible to SMEs in Kigoma
  3. Combining banking services with business support
  4. Maximum cooperation within local banks and business support initiatives

The goal of strengthening an entrepreneurial climate in Kigoma by offering accessible banking services and business support can only be realized within this broad partnership. Based on opportunities for each of the partners, a qualitative offer is being developed that delivers tangible results for the SMEs in Kigoma. The results of this growth program can therefore be detected at the SME level. At the same time, the partners will also achieve their objectives. TCCIA professionalizes and expands its services. The business development partner gains access to the members of TCCIA, a large group of SMEs in Kigoma. The Tanzanian banking partner will have the opportunity to offer savings and loan products to a new customer group that is strongly supported. Within this partnership, bringing together financial and business support expertise is central. Exchange facilitates that expertise sharing. After the feasibility study, high-quality regular service providers willing to cooperate were identified and willing to cooperate. In addition, local embedding is essential for the success of the partnership. For this reason, within this growth program Exchange opts in the first place for the deployment of South expertise. Rather than supplying expertise, Exchange covers the roles of facilitator and project coordinator. However, if necessary, its activity can change. Exchange provides a specialized program coach with knowledge of the banking world and with the necessary know-how to guide the design of this economic partnership.

Step-by-step growth program

This growth program is based on an extensive feasibility study that took several months. Determining the needs for private sector development in Kigoma and developing feasible initiatives tailored to the local context has proved to be a complex exercise. It was therefore decided to create this economic partnership in a very pragmatic and step-by-step manner.

The research started in February 2017. In the months that followed, an extensive assessment was carried out in which the company profiles, financial needs and management capacities of the members of TCCIA were mapped out. Ultimately, 50 companies were selected and underwent a credit analysis to become potential partners. This exercise was carried out on the spot and then intensively monitored from distance by Johan Hosselaer, financial expert of Exchange. Furthermore, PASS, a partner offering business development services, has carried out company audits in a professional manner. In addition, discussions were held with local economic actors to realize a strongly supported local partnership. The feasibility study was a first important step in the professionalization of TCCIA and formed the basis for the development of a local economic partnership through the first successful collaboration between TCCIA and the services of PASS.

In November 2017, on the basis of the results of the feasibility study and under the guidance of Johan Hosselaer, an intense round of talks with potential bank partners in Dar es Salaam was set up. Four bank partners were introduced to the economic partnership in Kigoma (TPB, NMB, CRDB and Bank of Africa). In 2018 the negotations with the bankpartners continued and resulted in a collaboration with one of them. In the summer of 2018 the first training initiative was set up in Kigoma. Some 60 SME's participated in a 10 day training course (2x5days) focused on agri-business management guided by experienced PASS trainers. This training was complemented with a one week training on financial management by the bank partner. In november 2018 Johan Hosselaer, programme coach and Eugène Nicolaes, financial expert, will travel to Kigoma to formalize the collaboration with the bank partner and PASS and to set up a first pilot in which they will screen and assess the investments projects of some of the involved SME's and guide them towards bankable investement plans.