Located in the Ilala Municipality, Kariakoo is home for small, medium and large scale businesses such as estate development, banking, consultancy and shopping malls, with high interaction of people from all walks of life, petty traders and tycoons. Its commercial link with Asia, the Middle East, East and Central Africa has been growing fast in recent days.
Customers come from Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Comoro, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Once considered a lowly part of the city, Kariakoo is today a prime business area, where rents have gone extremely high and virtually no longer affordable for small scale businesses.
The Ilala Municipal Mayor Mr Jerry Silaa said that Kariakoo, the busiest business centre is set for a major facelift to meet both the domestic and international standards, which all demand high quality. He said a team of experts in real estate development will be formed soon to inspect all buildings, which ignored construction terms and conditions. Those found to have flouted the law be penalised and be made to make good on their omissions.
For example, he said, most buildings lacked parking space, making some streets to be impassable, a cause for unnecessary congestion of vehicles, people and petty traders. “The aim is to modernise the area, to accommodate more businesses from both local and foreign investors to boost its significance as a source of employment and revenue for the government,” he said.
To implement the plan, the municipal authority is expected to hold negotiations with some lending institutions to invest in the infrastructure development, including the paving of streets. After the modernisation process, some streets will be closed for business activities.
The municipal director, Mr Gabriel Fuime said there was an ongoing process to collect opinions from various stakeholders on how to modernise the Dar es Salaam city, including the Kariakoo area as an important business centre in the region. “Great plans are in place to make the area more productive, an important source for income for city residents and revenue for the government,” Mr Fuime said.
The Tanzania Bankers’ Association (TBA) Chairman, Mr Laurence Mafuru, was quoted by the local media saying the country’s economy remains mainly informal, with only 25 per cent of the total money in the economy transacted in the formal financial system. “The formal (financial) system in Tanzania remains narrow as huge amounts of cash are in the informal system.
There is 10 million US dollars (about 16bn/-) for instance transacted daily at Kariakoo market alone,” remarked Mr Mafuru, also the Managing Director of National Bank of Commerce (NBC). Mr Mafuru challenged the central bank to work creatively to encourage more people in the country to join the formal financial system, saying the government’s monetary and fiscal policies rarely yield results because 75 per cent of the money in the market circulates in the informal system.
Many commercial banks, which target Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), have opened branches at Kariakoo, probably the busiest spot in Tanzania, to tap the huge business potential. The landmark four-decade old market built in 1974 on the place where a much older colonial market once stood, accommodates 1,558 businesses and serves a population of 55,000 people daily, according to official statistics from the market management.