Tag Archives: charts

Has Zitto revealed fake news on Tz economic growth?

The Citizen, 2/11/2017

Zitto Kabwe was arrested last week. He must be getting used to this by now, as he’s been held and questioned by the police on several occasions over the past couple of years.

What’s new this time, however, is that along with the by-now commonplace charge of “sedition”, he has been charged under the Statistics Act – the first such charges brought since the Act became law in 2015. Specifically, he and his party, ACT Wazalendo, published their own analysis of official economic data from the Bank of Tanzania (BoT), suggesting that the official GDP growth figures had been manipulated, and that actual growth was 0.1% rather than the BoT figure of 5.7%. And somebody decided that these are sufficient grounds to have him arrested.

I am not an economist and cannot either confirm or reject Zitto’s claim. I hope others will try to do so. But I can put forward some related data on the state of Tanzania’s economy that might help shed some light on the situation.

Let’s start with Zitto’s figures, however. His argument is essentially that up to now, GDP growth in Tanzania has stuck fairly close to the rate calculated using inflation and money supply figures. The most recent data, however, show a marked diversion, led by a sharp drop in money supply. In other words, the two blue lines on this graph stayed fairly close until this year. So something must be wrong with the latest figures, in his view.

Whether or not this argument holds water, however, we can also examine other data that can tell us something about the state of the economy. I have four more charts for you, starting with the money supply (the amount of money held in Tanzania, either in cash or in bank accounts):

It’s up and down a bit, but it shows one thing pretty clear: that growth in money supply in Tanzania has dropped considerably since early 2016. Before that, the amount of money circulating in Tanzania had been growing at around 15% each year. But that has now dropped to around 5% this year.

Next up, let’s look at another important proxy for a nation’s economic health: imports and exports. If the economy is doing well, demand for imported goods and services and production of exports should be on the increase.

When it comes to exports, the figures are up and down, showing no clear trend. But imports of goods and services into Tanzania are down considerable since January 2015: down by roughly 35% in just over two years.

We can also look at credit to the private sector. Again, this can be a good measure of economic health: if the economy is strong, banks will be happy to lend money.

As with imports, so there has been a decline here: prior to 2016, lending to the private sector had grown at a rate of around 20% a year. This has now dropped to just 1% in the latest available figures, for July 2017.

Finally, an indicator that perhaps affects most Tanzanians lives more immediately than any of those presented above: food prices. This is a complex area, as higher prices can be good for producers just as they are bad for consumers. But price increases would suggest demand is outstripping supply. And if prices go very high, it would suggest there might be a serious food shortage.

It’s good to see that prices have come down considerably since the start of the year – when reports and evidence of food shortages were widespread, despite initial government denials. But it’s noticeable that prices are still well above where they were at this time in the season in 2015 and 2016.

I want to end with two questions:

First: Bank of Tanzania figures tell us that money supply growth is down, imports are down, credit to the private sector is sharply down, and food prices remain high. What does this tell us about the state of the Tanzanian economy?

And second: an opposition politician is arrested and charged for pointing to what he describes as significant anomalies in official data. What does this tell us about the state of Tanzanian democracy?


This post originally appeared on mtega.com.

Corruption and freedom – is there a correlation?

corruption and freedomThe charts I have shared recently – last week on the Corruption Perceptions Index and this week on the Freedom House Freedom Rating – got me thinking: is there a correlation between corruption and freedom?

The chart below looks at data for each country in Africa that appears on both the Corruption Perceptions Index and the Freedom House Ratings. Each circle represents a country. Those further to the left are the countries with more perceived corruption, those to the right have less. The countries that are higher up on the chart have more freedom, lower have less freedom. Continue reading

Has Tanzania passed “peak freedom”? Or is the latest Freedom House rating a temporary blip?

Tz Freedom House 2015Tanzania’s freedom rating has dropped. The latest annual report by Freedom House on political rights and civil liberties around the world showed that Tanzania’s score dropped from 3.0 to 3.5. It’s may sound like only a small change, but the scale of these ratings only goes from 1 to 7. (1 is the most free, 7 is the least.) More significantly, it is the first time Tanzania’s rating has dropped for over 20 years.

This chart shows Tanzania’s rating for each year since 1994, just as multi-party democracy was being reintroduced. Continue reading

Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2015

CPI2015The latest Corruption Perceptions Index was released last week by Transparency International.

The index gives each country a score between 1 and 100, representing the level of perceived corruption. (It is understandably difficult to measure actual corruption as it usually happens in secret). A higher score is better – ie. it means the level of perceived corruption is lower.

So what does it tell us about countries in East Africa? Continue reading

Collected reactions to Twaweza / Sauti za Wananchi opinion poll findings

Two weeks ago, my colleagues and I at Twaweza launched our latest political opinion poll for Tanzania – including the perhaps surprising headline finding that at the start of the campaign period, CCM presidential candidate, John Magufuli had a strong lead over the Chadema / Ukawa candidate, Edward Lowassa. In case anyone hasn’t seen the poll findings (where have you been?), support for Magufuli was found to be 65%, while support for Lowassa was 25%, and Magufuli had a lead across all groups – urban, rural, male, female, all ages, all education levels:

I must also remind readers that this data comes from a nationally representative sample of 1,848 respondents from all regions of mainland Tanzania. It is not a prediction of the election results: a lot can happen between the time the data was collected and election day at the end of the month. The only poll that really counts in the one that takes place on October 25th. However, my main purpose here is simply to gather together a variety of media reactions to this poll and others published around the same time (e.g. Ipsos, TADIP). Continue reading

UchaguziTz.co.tz for election-related data and resources

screenshot1I am delighted to be able to share with you a new site that I have developed for the elections in Tanzania next month: UchaguziTz.co.tz.

It is intended primarily to encourage people to think about issues and policies. At the moment, therefore, it is largely made up of charts, maps and analyses of some of the key election issues. Some of it will be familiar to regular readers of this blog, but most of the content is new, not least a series of interactive maps showing election results from 2005 and 2010 on mainland Tanzania. Continue reading

Magufuli vs Lowassa – the online evidence

Nipashe cartoon 310715

Nipashe, 31/7/15

The two main contenders for the presidency in Tanzania’s forthcoming elections are now known. CCM chose John Magufuli as their nominee in mid July, after which Edward Lowassa switched sides and will run for president on the Chadema (and thus also UKAWA) ticket.

Bosses in parties have tried to stage-manage the nomination process to generate maximum publicity for their party and candidate. And in one sense they have both succeeded: the newspapers gave blanket coverage first to CCM and Magufuli, and then to Lowassa and Chadema/UKAWA.

But in this internet era, we can begin to compare how well the two campaigns have captured the interest of people online. Continue reading