Several news reports from different sources – local, regional and international – have for all practical purposes been positive about Tanzania’s economic performance in recent times.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Tanzania’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 4.8 percent in 2020, reaching $64.4 billion: well over the $60.8 billion it was in 2019.
Indeed, the country’s average real GDP growth rate of 6.3 percent over the 2010-2019 period made Tanzania one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa in particular – and in the world as a whole.
Partly based on that relatively sterling performance under very difficult circumstances, the IMF projected that Tanzania’s economy would grow by at least 4.0 percent in 2021; 5.1 percent in 2022 – and by 6.0 percent in 2026.
By way of comparison – and, if only for the sake of it – the African Development Bank (AfDB) projected “Tanzania’s GDP growth to remain stable at 6.4 percent in 2020, and 6.6 percent in 2021 – but subject to favourable weather, prudent fiscal management, mitigation of financial sector vulnerabilities, and implementation of reforms to improve the business environment.”
If it is recalled that, beginning in March 2020, Tanzania fell victim to the global Covid-19 pandemic that continues to ravage humanity and economies at the national and global levels, then Tanzania’s continuing economic growth amid the mutating coronavirus malady borders on the miraculous.
As the AfDB says, sustainable and functional economic growth – especially under very trying circumstances, including global pandemics and seemingly-relentless climate change – is predicated upon prudent fiscal management, mitigation of financial sector vulnerabilities, and a business-friendly environment.
How true, we heartily say. And, fortunately for us, we have Union President Samia Suluhu Hassan and Zanzibar President Hussein Ali Mwinyi in-charge of the Economy.
Both are tirelessly exploring and exploiting opportunities for all-inclusive, sustainable socioeconomic development via functional investment-and-business-friendly climate in hitherto under-exploited green and blue economies.
We wish them Godspeed in this noble undertaking.
NATGAS--CleaN ENERGY OR NOT
If and when the proposal by the European Union (EU) to categorically classify natural gas (‘natgas’) as ‘green energy’ is approved by the powers that be, this would be a positive game-changer for Africa’s potential natgas wealth.
As of 2020, Africa was “home to” a total of 630 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natgas reserves, 57tcf of that in Tanzania.
But, many powerful world countries regard natgas as a (dirty) fossil fuel, and refuse to invest in its development in any way.
Indeed, 20 nations (including the US and Canada) and five international development banks (including the World Bank) pledged at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow last November “to stop approving funding for fossil fuels development by the end of 2022.” Therefore, the EU proposal to classify natgas as a green energy comes as a relief that, finally, owners of natgas reserves can henceforth exploit them for productive development.
But, this classification must also apply outside the EU to be beneficial to natgas-rich countries like Tanzania, Mozambique, Algeria, Senegal, Mauritania and Nigeria in Africa. We, therefore, sincerely urge the EU and other honest-to-goodness stakeholders – including OPEC and APPO – to expose and contradict the so-called “energy transition agenda” that seeks to suddenly trash fossil/hydrocarbon fuels too early in favour of renewables.