President Samia Suluhu Hassan is implementing strategic investment measures to revive Tanzania’s economy. As the first female President of Tanzania, she assumed office on March 19, 2021, following the passing of her controversial predecessor, President John Magufuli.
Tanzania is a popular tourism destination in East Africa, with borders to eight other African countries and the Indian Ocean. The country boasts natural wonders such as Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti wildlife park, which is renowned for hosting the world’s second-largest terrestrial mammal migration.
Before now, the Tanzanian economy was heavily dependent on agriculture, despite having a vast but underdeveloped extractive industry. In 2020, the country’s GDP grew by 4.8% to $64.4 billion, making it East Africa’s second-largest economy after Kenya and the seventh-largest in Sub-Saharan Africa. The agriculture sector contributed 26.9 per cent to GDP in 2020 and 30 per cent by the end of 2021.
President Samia is focused on investment in key infrastructure, such as roads, railways, and ports, to improve connectivity within Tanzania and with neighbouring countries. She is also improving the business environment by reforming the legal and regulatory framework for investors and businesses.
Some infrastructural projects she undertook in her early days in office include the Tanzanite Bridge project in Dar es Salaam, the Mwanza-Isaka Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project (JNHP), and the construction of an oil pipeline from Hoima in Uganda to the Tanga Region. She has also implemented pro-business moves and new trade policies to restore trade relations and open up the Tanzanian market to foreign investors and financing from the international community. These moves have resulted in Moody’s Investors Service upgrading Tanzania’s economic outlook from stable to B2 positive in October 2022, which it still maintains.
“Tanzania’s re-engagement with the IMF also has the potential to support higher government revenue generation capacity and unlock greater concessional financing from development partners, supporting debt affordability and increased social spending,” Moody’s wrote.
President Samia’s efforts to improve the business and investment climate have led to increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), especially in the mining and hydrocarbon industries. Moody’s ratings indicate that this will lead to higher potential growth and improved international competitiveness for the country.
In the last year, the Tanzania Investment Center (TIC) registered 132 investment projects worth $3.16 billion between July and November alone, which is almost triple the value of investment projects recorded in the same period the previous year. Over 51% of these projects were in the manufacturing sector, highlighting President Samia’s intentional economic diversification strategy away from agriculture. Over 150,000 Tanzanians have secured employment in over 100 local firms that have benefited from an investment scheme supported by the European Union (EU) as of May 2022.
In March, President Samia invited investors in various sectors of Tanzania’s economy to further spur economic growth. Numerous sectors, including energy, ICT, telecoms, agriculture, construction, real estate, financial services, transportation, manufacturing, extractive industries, tourism, services, and media sectors, were opened to investments.
Recently, her government signed three significant agreements with prominent sports clubs in the United States in the major soccer and basketball leagues. These deals aim to enhance strategic investments and tourism through sports with American clubs. During the signing event in the US, Hassan Abbas, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources, confirmed that the government is committed to supporting the promotion of sports and tourism globally.
The new partnerships seek to increase the number of tourists in various tourism circuits across the East African nation. The American clubs involved in the agreement are Seattle Sounders FC, Seattle Seahawks (NFL), and Portland Trailblazers (NBA).