DICOTA (Diaspora Council of Tanzanians in America) is dedicated to the virtuous cycle of improving livelihood, social, and economic development of Tanzania and America. Its main goal is to exchange ideas, best practices and debate issues with intergovernmental agencies and organizations, and strive to be a catalyst for the establishment of better economic, social and cultural cooperation between the United States of America and Tanzania.

DICOTA will engage in economic, social and cultural projects and/ or activities that are of mutual benefit to both countries.

DICOTA is firmly grounded in the belief of a democratic, non-theocratic, culturally and economically inclusive Tanzania. DICOTA is an independent, non-partisan, non-sectarian organization dedicated to the promotion of knowledge about Tanzania and its economic growth.

The organization hopes to be a credible, constructive and independent voice for Tanzania. Through its body of work, DICOTA will serve as a source of constructive dialogue and a catalyst for positive change in Tanzania, and will offer a diverse voice in public discourse in the United States of America on current issues concerning Tanzania.

The purpose of DICOTA is to unite and strengthen the Tanzanian American Diaspora and its supporters, in order to enhance the economic, health, and social well being of Tanzanians and Americans.

Nonprofit Status – Diaspora Council of Tanzanians in America (DICOTA) is a Nonprofit Organization with 501 c (3) Tax Exemption Status.

Our History

The Beginning

On September 2008, 30 individuals with ties to or of Tanzanian origin from different parts of the United States gathered in Houston, Texas as a focus group to discuss the possibility of starting a Diaspora Organization of Tanzanians living in the United States of America. Also in attendance was the former Ambassador of Tanzania to the United States, Mr. Ombeni Sefue, along with a delegation of dignitaries from Tanzania representing the Government, the public and private sector. In The organization under the name of Diaspora Council of Tanzanians in America and the adopted acronym is DICOTA was then formed and registered in the state of Minnesota as a Non Profit under Chapter 317A of the Minnesota statutes. So far DICOTA have successful organized four conventions held in Houston, Minneapolis Dulles and Chicago as follows:

DICOTA Timeline

Inaugural Convention: October 1 – 4, 2009; Houston, Texas

The Convention was attended by 150 people from all the United States as well as from Tanzania. The convention brought together members of the Tanzanian Diaspora in USA, Tanzanian private sector and, Tanzania and US Government officials; key decision makers from United States of America and international organizations with vested interest in the economic growth in Tanzania and the United States of America. The themes for the convention were as follows:

  • DICOTA Mission and Objectives: The discussion included the mission, objectives and organizational structure of DICOTA. Additional discussions were on the identification of metrics that was used to measure progress in achieving those objectives overtime.
  • Areas of Opportunity: The discussions included (1) potential areas of improvement opportunities in Tanzania and associated technical challenges. (2) Potential areas and logistics for philanthropic activities (3) Potential US financial resources (philanthropic sources) from individuals, private as well as governmental agencies.
    The presentations included brief reports of successful as well as unsuccessful stories and specific challenges that were faced.
  • The Role of Tanzania Government: The challenges faced under the current climate of bureaucracy and corruption in Tanzania. What kind of commitment should be asked of the Government of Tanzania to minimize the impact of these issues and streamline the embracement of development efforts Challenging the Tanzanian Government to seek assistance and utilize the immense expertise of Tanzanians in the Diaspora. What role should Tanzanian Embassies play? Government policies to encourage development of local charitable organizations aiming at improving people’s lives; other issues such as tax incentives was also discussed.
  • The Role of Tanzanians in the Diaspora: What role can individuals who have interest and/or a stake in the development of Tanzania play towards this goal? Usage of financial resources, professional expertise, etc.; Discussions covered both educational and philanthropic activities.

Second Convention, July 1-4, 2010; Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Convention was attended by 250 people from all over the United States and Tanzania. The main Theme was “Unleashing the Diaspora Potential” which had the following components:

  • KILIMO KWANZA (Agriculture First in English) & FOOD SOVEREIGNTY: During the inaugural convention in October 2009, DICOTA was called upon to join and take action in “Kilimo Kwanza”. DICOTA accepted the call and the challenge to apply the organization members’ abilities and resources as residents of America to establish and promote charitable projects aimed at eradication of hunger (food sovereignty), and to apply technology in the way food and cash crops are produced, consumed and distributed, how they are processed, and how we can help influence those who control the food chain and increase their number. DICOTA has established an action committee to lead this effort; the committee presented the status of the initiative and led the discussions on the subject matter.
  • How do banks and businesses are engaged in the efforts to improve lives in Tanzania and succeed in African infrastructure projects and development. The Economist Intelligence Unit predicts that 15 of the 20 fastest growing economies in 2010 will be from the African continent. Is Tanzania one of them? The DICOTA 2010 Convention focused on the role played by the Diaspora as a key connector between United States and Tanzania to improve what is already on the ground and help in introducing new initiatives to help more people. Eight African countries are headed for emerging market status: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. These countries, which account for almost 50% of the region’s GDP outside of South Africa, have strong potential to attain sustainable development.
  • The best practices and how to go about doing charitable projects in Tanzania was also one of the main discussions for the convention, participants gotten an opportunity to explore the status and areas of opportunity presented by Tanzania Investment Center and came up with the ways forward on how the Diaspora community and participants would get involved in philanthropic activities in Tanzania.

Third Convention, September 22-25, 2011; Dulles, Virginia

Only three years young, the Diaspora Council of Tanzanians in America (DICOTA) in collaboration with the Embassy of the United Republic of Tanzania in the United States of America drew a record-breaking of 600 delegates at its 2011 convention (quadrupling the attendance from its first convention). Organizers of the convention came from all regions of the United States, including Tanzanians in Washington DC who made up the local steering committee. Between the Embassy, DICOTA, local committee, rapporteurs and other volunteers, close to 50 individuals took part in planning and/or working at the convention itself. By all accounts, it was a successful convention, with delegates already yearning for information on next year’s convention: when and where?
The convention program consisted of four major areas: plenary sessions including the keynote speech, panel sessions, Question and Answer forums (open discussion), and networking/socializing.

Power and Purpose – Minnesota and Tanzania, Working Together, November 7th, 2011; Minneapolis, Minnesota

Mr Kjell Bergh, the Honorary Consul of Tanzania together with Minnesota Council on Foundations, The McKnight Foundation, Minnesota International NGO Network, Minnesota International Center, Bega kwa Bega-ELCT/ELCA and the University of Minnesota organized a one day Conference themed “Power and Purpose – Minnesota and Tanzania Working Together” The conference brought together organizations engaged in supportive relationships between Minnesota and Tanzania, including NGO’s, funding organizations, faith-based community, academics, public and private as well as the Tanzania Diaspora. The DICOTA was very well represented; Dr Crispin Semakula served as one of the Committee members. Joel Mburu, Emma Kasiga and Ndaga Mwakabuta participated as facilitators and we had another eight Tanzanians in Minnesota attended as participants.
The keynote speaker was Richard Leider who spoke about his book and the meaning in the Power and Purpose. Mr Leider is an internationally acclaimed life change coach, author and speaker with three decades of involvement in Tanzania. Opening of the Conference was done by the Secretary of Minnesota State, Mark Richie and followed by address by Lily Munanka, Deputy Chief of the Mission – The Embassy of Tanzania in Washington DC.
We then shared on experiences about current activities of Minnesota Organizations in Tanzania, and learnt who is doing what and where in their specific sector and strategy.
The discussion aimed at strengthening existing collaborations and explored new ones that support health, education, justice, food security and agriculture, infrastructure and economic development.
The conference was a very good starting point for DICOTA to engage the NGO’s in Minnesota that are already involved in Tanzania to fulfill our mission and goals. On behalf of DICOTA, the DICOTA president pledged to the conference participants that, DICOTA will offer full support on their activities in Tanzania in the areas of Networking, data and information sharing as well as helping in addressing issues/barriers that are hindering the delivery of their services to our motherland.

Fourth Convention, Aug 30 – Sept 2, 2012; Chicago, Illinois

During the Labor Day holiday weekend, the Diaspora Council of Tanzanians in America (DICOTA) drew around 200 participants primarily from Tanzanians living in the US, joined by fellow Tanzanians from home and other Diasporas, as well as Americans and other nationalities residing in the US and outside. Organizers of the convention came from all regions of the United States, including Tanzanians in Chicago who made up the local steering committee. Between DICOTA, the local committee, rapporteurs and other volunteers, about 40 individuals took part in planning and/or working at the convention itself. This year’s Convention raised and discussed issues Tanzanians in the Diaspora have yearned for many years towards (e.g. dual citizenship, constitution review), and whose action steps are already underway. As in previous years, the convention program consisted of four major areas: plenary sessions including the keynote speech, panel sessions, Question and Answer forums (open discussion), and networking/socializing.
The convention brought together members of the Tanzanian Diaspora in the United States of America; Tanzanian private sector and government officials; key decision makers from Tanzania and U.S. businesses and financial institutions; educators; philanthropists; legislators; and international organizations with vested interest in investment and growth in the country.

Fifth Convention

Fifth Convention, October 2-5, 2014; Durham, North Carolina

Sixth Convention

Sixth Convention, Apr 28 – May 1, 2016; Dallas, Texas

Health Forum

Health Forum, Nov 11, 2017; Beltsville, Maryland