Should Startups Travel With The President?

This article is a reflection of my conversation with Zahoro Muhaji, the CEO of the Tanzania Startup Association (TSA).

Jumanne Rajabu Mtambalike
3 min readJun 9, 2024

In 2008, President Shimon Peres championed Shai Agassi’s Better Place vision, which illuminated the path of Israel’s clean tech revolution. Despite its eventual downfall, the tale of Better Place, chronicled in “The Startup Nation,” seeded the electric vehicle industry in Europe, demonstrating the power of high-level advocacy.

Fast-forward to the present. Tanzanian startup founders embarked on a journey with President Samia Suluhu Hassan to South Korea. This strategic expedition aimed to entwine the burgeoning Tanzanian startup ecosystem with the advanced technological tapestry of South Korea. A nation where innovation thrives, evidenced by 272,315 patent filings in 2022 and $4.1 billion in venture capital in 2023, South Korea provided a fertile ground for learning and collaboration.

Members of Tanzania Startup Association (TSA) With Her Excellence, President Samia Suluhu Hassan in Seoul, South Korea

Tanzania’s ecosystem, which has attracted $201 million (approximately 520 billion TZS) in foreign direct investment over the last three years, creating more than 100,000 direct jobs, can gain significantly from such global engagements. These investments highlight the country’s growing potential and the importance of fostering international partnerships.

Engagements with Korean founders, investors, and accelerators offered Tanzanian entrepreneurs a treasure trove of insights and opportunities. The mission was clear: build robust local ecosystems while forging global alliances to attract foreign direct investments (FDIs) and scale innovations.

Tanzania Startup Ecosystem Infographic — Source: Tanzania Startup Association

The digital dawn of 2050 foresees a world dominated by the Platform Economy, Internet Economy, Sharing Economy, Startup Economy, and Gig Economy. To thrive, Tanzania must not remain a passive consumer but an active creator of technological marvels. This requires shifting from short-term political ideologies to long-term, exponential technological integration in education, health, and agriculture.

The journey with President Samia was a diplomatic visit and a visionary step towards nurturing Tanzanian founders and positioning them on the global stage. African leaders are racing to showcase their nations as digital innovation hubs. Tanzania must seize this momentum, refusing to be mere spectators in the technological revolution. During the visit, the Tanzania Startup Association (TSA) signed an MoU with the Korea Africa Foundation (KAF) to promote exchange programmes, share insights, technology, and knowledge, and undertake joint research projects to enhance both ecosystems.

TSA Board Member Mr. Jumanne Mtambalike @Afruturist is seen signing the MoU with Ambassador Lyeo Woon-Ki, the President of KAF.

Gratitude extends to Balozi Tony Togolani for orchestrating this pivotal engagement, and kudos to the Tanzania Startup Association for their proactive stance. President Samia’s commitment to championing the startup agenda is a beacon of progress.

Despite its ultimate fate, the legacy of Peres and Agassi’s Better Place underscores the transformative power of high-level advocacy. It catalyzed advancements in the electric vehicle industry, proving that visionary leadership can ignite global technological revolutions.

High-level advocacy and international partnerships are the keystones to building a thriving startup ecosystem. Tanzania’s proactive engagement with global tech leaders is a testament to its commitment to future economic prosperity and technological innovation.

The Blog Post is Co-Authored By Jumanne Mtambalike and Zahoro Muhaji



Jumanne Rajabu Mtambalike

Entrepreneur, TZ Patriot, Loves Tech, Founder, Project Management Consulting firm, Co-Founded and Sahara Accelerator.