Exchange rates (April 10): £1 = TShs 1,271 $1= TShs 799

President Mkapa praised the willingness of the World Bank and the IMF to listen to Tanzania especially their willingness to be flexible with regard to the new thrust towards growth and broader-based poverty reduction. Speaking in Gabon on 19th January he said that Tanzania had, in the last few years, witnessed in a World Bank President, Jim Wolfensohn and IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus, an unprecedented willingness to listen to Africa.

EU Development and Human Affairs Commissioner Poul Nielson was quoted in South Africa’s BUSINESS DAY (March 3) as saying that Tanzania’s policies were hindering free trade in the region by unduly protecting domestic industry. “While the government’s commitment to the market economy is generally recognized it seems to be much less prepared to liberalize in the area of foreign trade” he said. He gave as examples Tanzania’s decision to pull out of COMESA and the fact that Tanzania was the most reluctant in the East African Community and in SADC to implement free trade protocols. Economists at the same event defended Tanzania saying that the country could not produce world class products due to poor infrastructure. Local manufacturers would be killed by free competition within the regions’ trading blocs they said (thank you David Leishman for sending this item -Editor).

Anglogold, the world’s biggest gold producer has taken a 50 per cent joint venture stake in Ashanti Goldfield’s Geita project in Tanzania. This followed the serious financial situation affecting Ashanti after the sudden rise in the price of gold in late 1999. Anglogold is paying Ashanti $205 million in cash for the 50 percent share and will procure or provide project financing to the Geita project totalling $130 million.

The Presidential Parastatal Reform Commission has been given four more years in which to divest l32 public corporations. 263 out of 395 corporations have been divested in the last six years. Those earmarked for early divestiture included TTCL, TANESCO, Air Tanzania, the National Microfinance Bank, the National fusurance Corporation and DA W ASA.

The 6,000 depositors in the failed Greenland Bank in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar are receiving back funds in their accounts which were frozen last year -Daily News.

‘Alliance Air’ was in danger of collapse as this issue of TA went to press. The South African parent company Transnet decided to pull out from April 7. The other shareholders -South African Airways, Uganda and Tanzania -were deciding what to do -East African.

Tanzania’s 19th commercial bank will be Barclays which was licensed in January to resume operations in the country -East African.

A Netherlands-assisted $423 million project for the widening to 140 m and the deepening from 7.0 m to 10.2 m of the entrance to Dar es Salaam Port has been completed.

After one year of difficult negotiations and much popular opposition, the agreement under which 70% of the National Bank of Commerce has been taken over by the ABSA Group from South Africa was finally passed by parliament. A reduced sum of $18.75 million was paid to the Tanzanian Treasury by ABSA on March 30.

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