The Economy of Tanzania in 2020
With an average real GDP growth rate of 6.3% over the past decade (2010-2019), Tanzania is among the fastest-growing economies in Africa and in the world.
According to the IMF, the real GDP of Tanzania grew by 4.8% in 2020 reaching USD 64.4 billion versus USD 60.8 billion in 2019.
The Fund projects a GDP growth for Tanzania of +4.0% and +5.1% in 2021 and 2022, and 6.0% in 2026.
However, in its East Africa Economic Outlook 2021 report, the AfDB estimates that Tanzania’s GDP will grow by 2.8% in 2021, and projecting a strong rebound for 2022 and 2023 with 4.9% and 6.3% economic growth respectively.
Tanzania Key Economic Sectors
According to the economic data included in the National Data of Tanzania Mainland of 2013-2019 by the National Bureau of Statistics, at current market prices, Services made the highest shares of GDP (40.0%) followed by Industry and Construction (31.1%) and Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (28.9%)
In November 2020, President Magufuli announced that in the next five years its government will put great emphasis on key economic sectors, especially agriculture, livestock, fisheries, industry, mining, trade, and tourism.
The Economy of Tanzanian in 2021
The African Development Bank (AfDB) projected Tanzania’s GDP growth to remain stable at 6.4% in 2020 and 6.6% in 2021, subject to favorable weather, prudent fiscal management, mitigation of financial sector vulnerabilities, and implementation of reforms to improve the business environment.
The IMF projects a GDP growth for Tanzania of +4.0% in 2021.
The WB estimates a real GDP growth rate of 4.3% and a GDP per capita growth rate of 1.3% in 2021, following a 1.0% per capita GDP contraction in 2020.
In April 2021, Tanzania’s new president Samia Suluhu Hassan gave her first speech to the parliament, mentioning the priorities of the Sixth Phase Government in the next five years to reach a GDP growth rate of at least 8% yearly.
The Economy of Tanzanian in 2022 and Beyond
The IMF projects a GDP growth for Tanzania of +5.1% in 2022, and 6.0% in 2026.
The WB, in its 17th Tanzania Economic Update (TEU), estimates a real GDP growth rate of 4.5–5.5% in 2022 and 6% over the medium term as exports and domestic demand recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nonetheless, Tanzania’s vulnerability to the global pandemic remains high amid the slow vaccination rollout. The evolution of the pandemic and the pace of vaccination, both globally and domestically, will be the most crucial factors driving Tanzania’s outlook.
The government will need to strengthen its pandemic response in the short term while laying the groundwork for a private-sector-led recovery over the medium-to-long term.
But the AfDB projects a slightly faster economic growth of 4.9% in 2022 and 6.3% in 2023.
Tanzania Gross National Income (GNI)
Tanzania’s GNI per capita rose by 6.1% during the ten-year period 2010–2019, from USD 720 to USD 1,080.
In 2019, Tanzania became a middle-income country with a GNI per capita of USD 1,080, against an average of USD 1,550 in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2021, the average inflation rate in Tanzania was 3.7% and remained well within the range set in the 3rd Tanzania Five-Year Development Plan (FYDP III) between 3.0% and 5.0% over the medium term.
On 18th January 2022, the average market exchange rates (source bot.go.tz) for the Tanzanian shilling (TZS) against major currencies provided were: USD/TZS 2,297.9, GBP/TZS 3136.7, EUR/TZS 2621.5007, RMB/TZS 361.9.
A year earlier, on 26th January 2021, the average market exchange rates (source xe.com) for the Tanzanian shilling (TZS) against major currencies provided were: USD/TZS 2,319.1, GBP/TZS 3,168.9, EUR/TZS 2,814.8, RMB/TZS 358.3.
Tanzania is a net importer with a negative balance of trade of USD -3,095.9 million in the year ended November 2019 (latest BOT data).
The value of exports of goods and services amounted to USD 8,839.9 million in the year ended November 2020, lower than USD 9,460.8 million in the year ended November 2019, due to a decline in services receipts (mainly tourism affected by Covid-19).
In 2018, Tanzania’s top exports were gold (USD 892 m), tobacco (USD 333 m), raw copper (USD 231 m), refined copper (USD 150 m), and other furniture (USD 147 m), exporting mostly to Rwanda, Kenya, the DRC, Zambia, and Uganda.
The top imports of Tanzania were refined petroleum (USD 1.77 b), palm oil (USD 280 m), packaged medicaments (USD 220 ), cars (USD 191 m), and wheat (USD 182 m), importing mostly from China, India, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa.
As of December 2019, Tanzania’s total national debt amounts to USD 28.6 billion with external debt accounting for 78% of the total and domestic debt with 22%.
Tanzania’s external debt amounted to USD 22.4 billion (40% of GDP) in December 2019 representing a 6% YoY increase (2018: USD 21.06 billion).
Tanzania’s domestic debt amounted to USD 6.3 billion (11% of GDP) in December 2019 representing a 1% YoY decrease (2017: USD 6.2 billion).
The Tanzanian Central Government is the largest borrower holding 78% of the country’s external debt, followed by the private sector (21%), and public corporations (0.4%).
The funds were allocated mostly to the transport and telecommunications sectors (27%), followed by social welfare and education (17%), and energy and mining (15%).
The total value of foreign investments in Tanzania in the period March-November 2021 reached USD 4.144 billion. This is 300% more than the USD 1.013 billion in FDIs in 2020.
Investments were drawn mostly to the mining sector, the oil and gas industry, and the primary agricultural products sector (coffee, cashew nuts, and tobacco).
The top five providers of FDI into Tanzania are South Africa, the UK, Kenya, Canada, and China.
In the WB Doing Business Report of 2020, Tanzania ranked 141st among 190 countries and ranked 4th in the East African Community (EAC) for the ease of doing business. The country is currently implementing the “Blueprint for Regulatory Reforms to Improve the Business Environment in Tanzania” and aims to raise its score to at least 100.
Last Updated: 2nd March 2022
Sources: African Development Bank (AfDB), Bank of Tanzania (BoT), Foreign Service Institute of the US Department of State, International Monetary Fund (IMF), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Tanzania National Bureau of Statistics, World Bank (WB).
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