Tag Archives: economics

Chart of the week #17: Tanzania exports far more to SADC than to the EAC

The Daily News had an interesting economic headline earlier this week: Tanzania’s exports to SADC countries soars. According to the article, 29% of Tanzania’s exports go to countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), while only 10% go to East African Community (EAC) countries.

It’s based on new data from the Bank of Tanzania, published in their Financial Stability Report and Quarterly Economic Bulletin.

The article itself got in a bit of a mess, confusing economic growth rates with growth in trade. Nevertheless, the basic point is still interesting: Tanzania exports nearly three times as much to SADC countries as to EAC countries.

Perhaps, therefore, Tanzania should worry less about getting East African integration right, and focus more on its southern neighbours instead? Continue reading

Chart of the week #15: Getting a good deal from natural gas?

Kipanya in Mwananchi, June 2014

Expectations: Kipanya in Mwananchi, June 2014

Natural gas is a game changer in Tanzania, both economically and politically. The latest reports suggest that there may be as much as 51 trillion cubic feet available, not huge by global standards, but enough to have raised expectations sky high – see cartoon. The public and policy makers are excited, and it’s already having significant effects on both local and national politics.

Zitto Kabwe wrote recently:

“One Minister stated in the Parliament that “with the natural gas reserves Tanzania has, poverty will be history”. How I wish it was that simple! A plus and minus equation. Unfortunately the reality is opposite. There are chains of evidence that resources, due to many factors engraved within a ‘lesser’ leader, may lead to curse.”

Continue reading

Chart of the week #13: Mobile money transactions in Tanzania are worth how much?

Mobile money has revolutionised financial services in East Africa, starting with M-Pesa in Kenya and spreading from there. The global association of mobile phone network operators, GSMA, has recently published a report on mobile money in Tanzania (pdf), which included the following chart, showing the total value of mobile money transactions each year since 2007:

Yearly value of mobile money transactions. Source: GSMA, data from Bank of Tanzania, Central Bank of Kenya

Yearly value of mobile money transactions. Source: GSMA, data from Bank of Tanzania, Central Bank of Kenya

Two things are worth highlighting here. First, though Kenya was undoubtedly the trendsetter here, Tanzania is fast catching up, and looks set to overtake Kenya during 2014. Continue reading

Trade, tax and superhero number crunchers

For the bean-counters shall inherit the earth, as I’m sure somebody once said.

Accountants have a clever trick – the unscrupulous ones – to keep the rest of us fooled. By making something sound as uninteresting as possible, we have a hard time paying attention long enough to understand what they’re saying. So we miss the point.

Take misinvoicing, for example. Could anything possibly sound less interesting than that?

Well, let me see if I can get your attention: between 2002 and 2011, Tanzania lost an average of $248m per year in tax revenues through misinvoicing. It’s illegal, and it’s on the rise. Continue reading

Tanzanians confidence in the economy is the lowest in Africa – Afrobarometer on Tanzania #3

Tanzanians are very worried about the state of the economy, despite some impressive headline figures on growth.

When asked in the 2012 Afrobarometer survey how they view the state of the economy, Tanzanians were consistently much less positive than the rest of the continent:

  • Less Tanzanians (8%) were positive about the current state of the economy than in any other country.
  • Twice as many Tanzanians said that they thought the economy had got worse in the past twelve months (51%) as said it had got better (25%).
  • Less Tanzanians (22%) said that they expected the economy to improve in the coming twelve months than in any other country. Continue reading

“Lived poverty” on the increase in Tanzania – Afrobarometer on Tanzania #1

“It’s all rosy for Tanzania,” runs the Daily News headline. It’s not about media freedom, the state of public services, political stability or religious tolerance, but another vitally important component in the country’s development – economic growth. The article goes on to give some impressive growth figures, by anyone’s standards:

“The 2013 African Economic Outlook Report, launched last week, confirmed the impressive performance of the economy, which grew [by] 6.9% in 2012 and is estimated to reach 7% this year and 7.2% in 2014.”

But another recent report raised some very important questions about this economic growth. In particular, is economic growth benefiting the poor?

I’m talking about the Afrobarometer survey series, which published its latest data and reports last week. Their survey results and analysis are always worth looking at, as the data is among the best data on public opinion across the continent. The latest round covered 35 countries. It hit the headlines for its conclusion that the “Africa Rising” narrative needs more nuance – see here in the Guardian, for example. Continue reading