Tanzania seeks World Bank support for Covid effort, balance of payments

Saturday October 02 2021
President Samia Suluhu

President Samia Suluhu, addressing the UN General Assembly in New York. PHOTO | AFP


Tanzania has reached out to the World Bank for support to the country’s efforts to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 and access to vaccines.

In a meeting in Dodoma September 28, President Samia Suluhu held talks with the World Bank’s Regional Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa, Hafez Ghanem, and discussed her government’s focus on improving education, health and women empowerment.

This was a follow up of a meeting President Samia held with the World Bank Group’s President David Malpass in New York during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Briefing Dr Ghanem on her government’s priorities in the Tuesday meeting, President Samia said; “We are currently reviewing our tax policies in consultation with stakeholders in order to improve the business environment and attract investment.”

“We are also in the process of strengthening the private sector so that it can compete and contribute to employment in the country,” she added.

She also spoke about efforts to enhance information and increase efficiency through use of ICT.


Ghanem was upbeat about the collaboration in various development projects and women empowerment. “We are also ready and willing to work with the government of Tanzania in the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines, dissemination of information and create public awareness and encourage more people to get a Covid-19 vaccination.”

This is Ghanem’s second to Tanzania as World Bank vice president.

Improving efficiency

According to World Bank data, Covid-19 has negatively impacted Tanzania’s macroeconomic outlook, and negatively impacted its population’s health and wellbeing. The economy decelerated to 4.8 percent growth in 2020, and growth is expected to remain subdued in 2021.

During the meeting in New York with the World Bank president, the bank affirmed its willingness to support vaccines procurement for Tanzania, uptake and deployment through its International Development Assistance.

Malpass also lauded Tanzania’s efforts to improve the business environment and facilitate private sector-led growth through reforms.

He stressed the importance of electricity access, affordable housing, and digital infrastructure to improve efficiency and access competitive markets, and also emphasised the importance of debt transparency, and encouraged careful selection of investment programmes.

The IMF has responded to the Covid-19 crisis by deploying financial assistance, policy advice and creating special tools to assist member countries.

This year, the IMF approved $567.25 million in emergency financial assistance under the Rapid Credit Facility and Rapid Financing Instrument to support its efforts in responding to the pandemic by addressing the urgent health, humanitarian, and economic costs.

This financing would help finance Tanzania’s urgent balance of payment needs stemming from the outbreak of Covid-19.

The resources are also expected to play a catalytic role in their efforts to mobilise additional support from development partners.