The leader of a Sussex Chamber of Commerce trade mission to Tanzania told the ‘Business Times’ that trading opportunities in the country were increasing following notable improvements in macro economic fundamentals. He cited the low inflation rate, and good GDP growth rate.
The ‘East African’ (March 24) reported that Tanzania’s foreign exchange reserves had risen to $1,528 million as of December 2002, equivalent to 18 months of imports and the highest level of reserves achieved in the past 20 years. This was attributed to policy guidelines that required the Bank of Tanzania to maintain adequate reserves, the stability of prices, increased flows of donor support and debt relief.
The Tanzania Investment Centre at last year registered the largest number of new investors in the country since the department was established in 1997. 320 investors were registered, compared with 239 in the second best year, 1998. Most investment was in the manufacturing centre, followed by tourism. 80% of the investors were reported to be doing well.
Last year Tanzania’s mining industry earned about $400 million making it the second major foreign-exchange earner after tourism which brought in $725 million. It is predicted that within the next two years gold will be Tanzania’s main export -The East Africa.
President Mkapa said on 28th February that Tanzanians must accept the stark realities of globalisation and work hard to create a national economy that could fully benefit from that system. In his monthly national radio and TV address to the nation he criticised Tanzanians for being engaged in a futile debate on who owned what in the economy. “Unfortunately, most of our debates don’t show that we understand current global economic trends. What we hear on political forums is about calls for indigenous ownership of the economy and not how to create a patriotic national economy ….. Grants and loans can never be a substitute for hard work” he said referring to the heavy dependency of the country on foreign assistance.
On February 19 the Government announced that it had leased (for ten years) management of the Dar es Salaam Water Authority (DA WASA) to ‘City Water Services Ltd’ owned jointly by Biwater ofthe UK and Gauff Inenieure ofGermany. The company, together with the World Bank, African Development Bank and European Investment Bank will invest $160 million -Guardian.
The Bank of Tanzania has issued new 500/-, 1,000/-, 2,000/-, 5,000/-and 10,000/-notes. There was much surprise when, within a month, forged new notes appeared on the streets.
Since Kilimanjaro Airport was privatized in 1999 the number of airlines using it has increased from two to forty. The Tanzanian/European company in charge has just invested a further Shs 3.2 billion in restructuring and modernization -Sunday Observer.
The Government’s firm decision to privatize the National Microfinance Bank (established after the sale of the National Bank of Commerce in 1997) has attracted a lot of criticism not least from its own Board of Directors. Eventually, on March 1 the Government dissolved the Board. In February, such had been the strength of the opposition in parliament, that the Bill allowing for the privatisation had been withdrawn. It is to be presented again with a larger Tanzanian component in the shareholding. The Bill had proposed 51% shares to be held by a strategic investor, 30% by the Government and the rest by private local and other investors -Guardian.
The five-star Dar es Salaam Holiday Inn has won the ‘Six Continents Hotels’ Best Newcomer of the Year Award’, making it the best new Six Continents hotel in the world for the year 2002. There are some 3,000 hotels in the group worldwide.
The Tanzania Cigarette Company (TeC) said on March 31 that it had produced 4 billion cigarettes last year and had about 95% of the domestic market in the country. The Tanzania cigarette industry generates more added value for locally produced raw materials than any other industry in the country and employs 700 people. TCC has a network of 680 wholesalers and 40,000 retailers.
The Business Times (March 10) reported that, at long last, a buyer had been found for what was once Tanzania’s biggest and most prestigious hospitality establishment, the Kilimanjaro Hotel. It has been sold to ABS Holdings Ltd, a group of companies based in the United Arab Emirates, for $33 million after languishing for more than 10 years with no takers acceptable to the Government. The Kilimanjaro is to be refurbished to five-star standard.
As the pyrethrum planting season came to a close in April it was revealed that 1,500 tons were still in store in Mbeya and Iringa because no market had been found for the crop. Some experts believed that this was because of the poor quality compared with that of its principal competitors, Kenya and Tasmania. Kenyan farmers were able to sell a kilogram for between Shs 900 and 1,200 per kilo while Tanzanian farmers were selling at between Shs 350 and 500 per kilo. However, there were better prospects for the future because the Uyole Agricultural Research Centre had come up with a superb pyrethrum clone which could transform the prospects for the crop -Guardian.
Tanzania remains a very attractive destination for foreign aid and Zanzibar is no longer being subjected to donor boycotts. The Danish government has restored its humanitarian aid to Zanzibar with the grant of Shillings 746 million for medicines and medical equipment.
Other recent donor aid includes:
-Sweden -$50 million to support Tanzania’s 2003-06 Primary Education Development Plan. A joint statement by the governments said this had been the largest-ever sum approved by SIDA, Sweden’s international cooperation and development arm, to any partner country in the field of education.
-China -$1.2 million to ease transport problems in Zanzibar.
-Germany $86 million, mainly on water and sanitation projects for 2003-2004 making Tanzania the second largest recipient of German aid in sub-Saharan Africa.
-Japan $2.9 million in debt relief.
-The Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and malaria -$2.3 million to Zanzibar; the USA is the largest contributor
-Canada -US$ 6.6 million for five years for universal primary education
-The EU -€38 million for the agricultural sector.
THE ‘NEW’ AIR TANZANIA
Tanzania’s flag carrier, Air Tanzania Corporation Limited (ATCL), was launched on April 1st. Chairman, Ali Mafuruki said that the former Air Tanzania Corporation, which was recently acquired by South African Airways, would have new routes. “To the West we are looking at Lagos and other points in West Africa and to the North, Europe beckons with London as the first planned destination” he said. However, new routes would only be opened when they proved to have commercial value. In phase one, A TCL would increase its flights to Johannesburg, Nairobi and Entebbe. In the coming weeks the company would embark on the first stages of developing Dar es Salaam as a hub. “When the troubled skies in the Gulf clear, we shall launch our services to Dubai and Muscat. The company would introduce an additional three Boeing 737’s and two De Havilland Dash-8 aircraft. The government owns 51% of the ATCL -Sunday Observer.
FISHERIES ENVIRONMENT IMPROVING
According to the Dar es Salaam Mirror (March 20) dynamite fishing, once rife in the Tanga region, has in recent years witnessed a decline, thanks to concerted efforts by the Tanga Coastal Zone Development Programme (TCZDP), Government and the community at large.
Brief extracts from the article: ‘The TCZDP was launched in 1994 with the principal objective of ensuring the sustainability of marine resources in the districts of Tanga, Pangani and Muheza … .In the early 1990s, there was increased pressure on fisheries resources leading to a decrease in fish supply. The major cause was dynamite fishing which was responsible for the destruction of an estimated 12% of Tanga region’s 1996 reefs. This, coupled with intense fishing resulted in diminished catches in 90% of the reefs. Under the Programme, joint patrols were established to enforce fisheries regulations and a ban was imposed against dynamite fishing. The number of recorded blasts in Tanga region had dropped to less than five a month from over 180 a month in 1994.
Other measures taken included closure of certain reefs for fish stock replenishment and reef recovery. Also, fish aggregating devices and mariculture were tested as potential alternatives to inshore fisheries.
THE DEEP SEA
The East African reported on March 17 that Tanzania was planning new measures against pirate fishing boats along its coastal areas and its 200km ‘Economic Exclusive Zone’. The Government was proposing to establish in July a ‘Deep Sea Fishing Authority’ (DSFA), which would have powers to arrest pirate boats. Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Mrs Zakia Meghji, was quoted as estimating that over 70 illegal fishing vessels were operating in Tanzania’s waters and were targeting tuna, kingfish, lobsters and prawns.
Both Tanzania and Zanzibar have licensed vessels to fish their waters but trawlers from as far afield as Japan and China are said to be illegally fishing. French naval forces operating in the Southern Indian Ocean Zone pledged to help arrest illegal fishing vessels along Tanzania’s coastline and were reported to have chased away 80 illegal trawlers over the past year.
AND IN LAKE VICTORIA
Fishermen in Kagera Region are reported to be ignoring the ban on seine nets introduced by the three East African countries five years ago. Fisheries officials estimated that there were more than 200 seine nets, employing more than one thousand people, operating in the region threatening to deplete the 21 Nile perch breeding sites in the Lake; these nets sweep the area, catching even immature fish. It is estimated that there are 52,000 small fishermen on the Tanzanian side of Lake Victoria who earn about $72 million a year from 220,000 tonnes of fresh Nile perch. A source from Tanzania’s Lake Victoria Fish Processors Association told The East African that Kenya and Uganda had succeeded in controlling the number of beach seines in their part of the shared lake. The fishermen at Nyamikazi, Igabiro, Nyasheni and Kamawa beaches in Tanzania however used the seine nets between 11pm and 5am to avoid arrest, then buried the nets in the sand. Some fishermen from Nyamikazi said the illegal fishermen have been catching about 10 tonnes of Nile perch daily, 60% of which are immature, weighing below 1.5kg. A task force leader from the Department of Fisheries Management of the ‘Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project’ in Kagera region said between 1998 and 2001, some 400 fishermen had been arrested and 50 seine nets and other illegal fishing gear destroyed. During the same period, about 50 criminal cases were filed at the regional court against fishermen using illegal methods but, according to officials, “the future still looks bleak.”