Exchange rates (November 1998): £1 = TShs 1,120 $1 = TShs 675

Tanzania is poised to be Africa’s next ECONOMIC GIANT after South Africa, should the flow of investments, trade and stability be sustained. It had all the potential and natural resources to surge ahead in social and economic development – Rev. Charles Stith, US Ambassador to Tanzania, quoted in the Daily News.

The TRUST BANK was closed on September 19 and the passports of its senior foreign officials were seized. This followed the takeover by the Central Bank of Kenya of the operations of the Trust Bank HQ in Nairobi due to insolvency. There had been a run on the bank by panicking depositors on September 18 when Shs 200 million had been withdrawn in a morning. By the end of November the bank was asking depositors to help rescue the bank. Under its plan there would be no curbs on withdrawals up to Shs 1.5 million but sums grater than this would be released over two years -Daily News.

A 25 year concession agreement has been signed under which the KILIMANJARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT has been taken over by a local company -Kilimanjaro Airport Development Company (KADCO) a subsidiary of Mott MacDonald of the UK.

Greenland Bank Ltd. in collaboration with Thomas Cook International has launched a ‘MONEYGRAM SERVICE’ which it claims will provide transferred money from anywhere in the world ‘in ten minutes’. The launching ceremony of this service was held at the Sea Cliff Hotel in Dar es Salaam -The Sunday Observer.

The government has washed its hands of the eight-months long conflict between TANESCO and the Malaysian-sponsored Independent Power Tanzania Ltd (IPTL) electricity project (see earlier issues of Tanzanian Affairs). TANESCO has presented its case to the Washington-based International Centre for the Settlement of Disputes (ICSID) -East African.

Zanzibar has passed a bill to introduce 15% VAT early in 1999. Tanzania’s mainland VAT rate is 20% -Business in Africa.

Mwanza Regional Commissioner James Luhanga has announced that, in spite of a temporary ban on importation of LAKE VICTORIA FISH into the EU (because of alleged cholera), new markets had been developed in the Middle East, Australia and the Far East. Tanzania had exported Shs 28 billion worth of fish last year, the highest ever and twice the receipts of 1996. Major General Luhanga said that Nile Perch was in high demand because experts say it is free from cholesterol -Daily News.

The foundation stone has been laid by President Mkapa of the long-awaited, $25 million, kilometre-long BRIDGE over the Rufiji River at Ndundu. The bridge is expected to be completed in 2000. The project is part of a 508km tarmac road project from Dar es Salaam to Lindi. Finance is being provided by the OPEC Fund, the Kuwait Fund and the Saudi Arabian Government -East African.

Tanzania’s COFFEE INDUSTRY (240,000 hectares) has an uncertain future according to ‘Business in Africa’ (October­November). It wrote: ‘For the last ten years production has stagnated at an average of 50,000 tonnes annually and current output at about 250kgs per hectare is among the lowest in sub­Saharan Africa (Zimbabwe -700-1,000 kgs per hectare), …. Causes include fluctuating coffee prices, high taxation, high cost of fertilisers and pesticides, low quality seedlings, under-funding of research…but the main cause is ageing coffee trees -many are over 70 years old and beyond their economic viability. However, some 17 new hybrid varieties of coffee with promising pest resistance have been developed, the EU is launching a $14 million rehabilitation scheme (six million seedlings) and experts say that Tanzania is capable of producing 145,000 tonnes per annum’.

Suzie Teete, Human Resources Manager of the TANZANIA CIGARETTE COMPANY, is advertising for Tanzanians living abroad to take up a variety of posts in the company. Starting salaries -about Shs 500,000.

South Africa’s ‘Trans-Africa RAILWAY Corporation’ has been given a 20-year concession to operate on the Tanzania Railways Corporation network. If it receives tax incentive clearance, it will run three locomotives and 200 wagons (shipped from Durban). They will be adjusted to fit Tanzania’s narrow 1,000mm gauge after conversion from the 1,067 mm South African gauge -East African.

The government has sold its 34% share of Tanzania Portland CEMENT Company to companies in Norway and Sweden for $8.45 million -Daily News.

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