Investment climate in Tanzania improves
DAR ES SALAAM: Tanzania has attracted rising levels of foreign investment after streamlining its business rules and fighting corruption, a top official said.
Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) director Emmanuel Ole Naiko said in an interview, “Many things contribute to the success. One is how we have dealt with impediments: things like business licensing, the land act and also the measures we are taking to deal with things like petty corruption.”
The east African country — endowed with resources including gold, Tanzanite gemstones, natural gas, beaches and game parks — received $248 million of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2003 compared with $240 million the previous year.
FDI figures for 2004 were not yet available but TIC projects receipts between $280 and $300 million. Ole Naiko declined to give an estimate for 2005 investment.
“This has encouraged more investors to come to Tanzania. Mining, tourism and manufacturing are the main areas they are drawn to. Transport and construction are also very attractive areas,” he said on Thursday, adding South Africa was the biggest investor in 2004.
“We are calling upon investors to look at Tanzania and see the changes, it’s a country on the move,” Ole Naiko said.
Tanzania has implemented painful economic reforms and fiscal austerity that have improved economic growth and the ease of doing business in a country that was for years run under state-Socialist principles.
Officials say they have made progress in fighting corruption, although many businesses still complain that officials demand bribes for routine services.
The economy grew by 5.6 percent in 2003 and is expected to expand by 6.3 in 2004. Inflation stood at 4.1 percent in the year to Feb. 2005.
Tanzania is a member of the East Africa Community (EAC) that groups it with neighbouring Kenya and Uganda. The economic bloc of about 90 million people launched a customs union in January.
The three countries set a common external tariff with bands of 25 percent on finished goods, 10 percent for semi-processed goods and zero for raw materials, aiming to make it easier to attract foreign investment. —Reuters