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She had a message for American companies: “There is money from your government. Make use of it.”

Mrs. Mulamula said U.S. companies are getting left behind “not [only] by the Chinese, but by the Brazilians, the British, the South Africans, the Germans, you name it.”

“American companies have a lot to catch up,” she added.

On his visit, Mr. Obama announced the Power Africa initiative aimed at doubling access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. The U.S. will commit more than $7 billion over the next five years to this effort.

“This is big money,” said Mrs. Mulamula, urging U.S. companies to take advantage of this opportunity.

She said American companies have been reluctant to avail of opportunities in Tanzania because they were not sensitized. “Also, I think the Americans are not really risk takers,” she said.

“For many, only now they know that Africa is not one, and that when you come to Tanzania, Tanzania is not Darfur,” she said, referring to the conflict-torn western province of Sudan.

“They hear a lot about this bad image, which prevents them and they think twice,” she added. “They still have this perception that they might invest today, and tomorrow there is nationalization.”

Tanzania is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. In conversations with their American counterparts, Tanzanian officials frequently cite the example of the cellphone boom in their country, which U.S. firms missed because of their apprehensions about Africa.

“The continent is not still short of conflicts. But don’t paint us with the same brush,” said Mrs. Mulamula.

Meanwhile, China, which has a long-standing relationships in Africa, including with Tanzania, has steadily increased the size of its footprint on the continent. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Tanzania in March.

“For us, it is a very healthy competition,” she said of the efforts by China and the U.S. to woo her country. “When the Chinese came with this new thrust, it caused ripples. The Chinese, because they have been there, they know the terrain.”

However, Chinese companies rarely make actual investments. “They are not big investors, yet,” she said.

Mrs. Mulamula presented her credentials to Mr. Obama on July 18 and met Donald Yamamoto, acting assistant secretary for African affairs, at the State Department on Monday.

She said the State Department bore some responsibility for scaring U.S. investors away from her country.

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