Jun 2022 – Aug 2022
Geofrey Onesmo Metili
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Geofrey is a Tanzanian national who was born in Ilboru, Arusha, Tanzania. He was raised in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
Geofrey holds a BSc in Economics from Mzumbe University and an MSc in International Policy and Trade Law from TRAPCA/Lund University.
A trade policy and trade law specialist, he has extensive commercial experience but has also undertaken the role of lecturer in countries such as India and Russia. Geofrey is happily married and is currently employed as the Country Sales Manager for Abc Emporio.
AGN; You are of the view that trade is the main driver that will eradicate poverty in Africa, south of the Sahara. What do you perceive are the main challenges to actualizing this?
GOM; I feel the main challenge is the extremely lopsided nature of global trade as it leads to a myriad of issues that leave Africa at a disadvantage. My intention is to become highly vocal about the inefficiencies and unfair practices that exist in value chains and structural mechanisms which are disadvantageous to Africa and African businesses in order to coalesce opinion and agitate for change.
AGN; AfCFTA, the continent wide free trade area has now been established however, REC’s have been operational for years. How successful would you say RECs have been and do you feel bigger in the form of AfCFTA is better?
GOM; I feel RECs were successful in terms of bringing about greater harmonization amongst the countries in their respective regions. I also feel that tripartite agreements between RECs further helped to create a more conducive environment for AfCFTA. I absolutely feel bigger is better by way of AfCFTA as it allows for greater leverage than if we are negotiating on a per country or regional basis.
AGN; Tanzania recently became a lower middle-income country and has set itself the goal of reaching middle-income status by 2025. Do you feel things are more or less on track?
GOM; Things appear to be heading in the right direction. The regulatory framework is being streamlined to make the country more attractive for FDI and also for locals to utilize their funds within the country rather than elsewhere. The right noises are being made about diversification of the economy and investment in infrastructure.
AGN; What insights can you share about support for start-ups in your country?
GOM; We have a number of hubs that have been established and more are in the pipeline. They exist to nurture/incubate emerging businesses by providing an enabling environment to help them find their feet. In some cases technical and financial support is also available to those who qualify.
AGN; A USP/USPs can be very advantageous. What factor or factors do you feel are unique about your country from a business perspective that make it a very good option to do business there?
GOM; The size of our market and the open nature of our people make it very easy for businesses to thrive here. We also have the longest coastline in East Africa.
AGN; Are there any misconceptions you feel people have about Tanzanians?
GOM; A lot of people seem to think we are grossly uneducated and that there is no value in having a Tanzanian on-board. We are generally deemed to be quite complacent. The reality is the polar opposite.
AGN; How did you come to pursue the academic path that you took?
GOM; While I was in high-school in Uganda, my headmaster asked me what do I want to be or do when I grow up. I expressed the desire to be an ambassador in support of trade as I felt strongly then as I do now that trade undertaken on an equitable basis can be more beneficial to everyone.
AGN; Is there anyone in particular that inspired or helped you to shape you as a person?
GOM; My parents have both been very pivotal. My mother really helped to shape my business acumen. Through working with her I learned so much about the day to day realities of doing business.
My father prepared the landscape for me. I am forever grateful he took me to Kenya for my primary education and to Uganda for high-school. This imbued me with a great appreciation for multiculturalism.
AGN; What was family life like where you grew up?
GOM; Family life was fairly comfortable. However, it was more about practical skills and reading or going to church rather than spending time on recreational activities and frivolity.
AGN; What do you like to do to unwind.
GOM; I like to swim. I also enjoy reading and spending time with family and friends.
AGN; At some point when you eventually retire what would you like to be remembered for?
GOM; I would like to be remembered for being innovative and a good manager. I’m solutions orientated, finding unique and local solutions to problems is important to me as well as empowering people to be the best they can be.
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on behalf of African Global Networks (AGN) - Jun 2022