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Tanzania

Executive Summary

The United Republic of Tanzania achieved lower-middle income country status in July 2020, following two decades of sustained economic growth. The country’s solid macroeconomic foundation, sound fiscal policies, rich natural endowments, and strategic geographic position have fostered a diverse economy resilient to external shocks. This proved critical as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an economic downturn, though Tanzania avoided a more severe pandemic-induced recession.

The Government of Tanzania (GoT) welcomes foreign direct investment. In March 2021, President Samia Suluhu Hassan assumed the presidency following the death of President John Pombe Magufuli. In her first months in office, President Hassan promised reforms to improve the business climate and identified attracting foreign investment as a key priority. This commitment to increasing investment has continued throughout her tenure and economic issues remain at the forefront of the administration’s policies, strategies, and goals. President Hassan’s government has sought to engage stakeholders, including local private sector organizations and development partners, to improve the business climate and regain investor confidence. Consistent with this shift in rhetoric, significant changes to improving the business environment and investment climate have been made over the past year: improving the complex, and sometimes inconsistent, work permit issuance process for foreign workers and investors; streamlining Tanzania Investment Center (TIC) operations; disbandment of the special ‘Tax Task Force’ previously associated with heavy-handed and arbitrary tax enforcement; and strengthening regional trade cooperation.

However, while several laws have been reviewed, business climate legislative reforms have not yet been sweeping. There remain significant legislative obstacles to foreign investment such as the Natural Resources and Wealth Act, Permanent Sovereignty Act, Public Private Partnership Act, and the Mining Laws and Regulations. Despite pledges by President Hassan and senior government officials, these have yet to be resolved; rather, the administration has selectively eased the application of these laws. The primary business and investment challenges lie in tax administration; opening and closing businesses; inconsistent institutions compounded by corruption and requests for “facilitation payments” at many levels of government; late payment issues; and cross-border trade obstacles. In recent years, aggressive and arbitrary tax collection policies targeted foreign and domestic companies and individuals alike, and tough labor regulations made it difficult to hire foreign employees, even when the required skills were not available within the local labor force. Corruption, especially in government procurement, taxation, and customs clearance remains a concern for foreign investors, though the government has prioritized efforts to combat the practice.

The country’s drastic and improved shift in its acknowledgement of and approach to COVID-19 in 2021 led to the creation and implementation of a national COVID-19 response plan that addressed both health and socio-economic impacts of the pandemic. Tanzania has reengaged with the international community to support implementation of its robust national pandemic response plan with key pillars for improving data sharing, welcoming vaccines, and conducting vaccination outreach campaigns.

Sectors traditionally attracting U.S. investment include infrastructure, transportation, energy, mining and extractive industries, tourism, agriculture, fishing, agro-processing, and manufacturing. Other opportunities exist in workforce development, microfinance solutions, technology, and consumer products and services.

Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings
Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2021 87 of 180 http://www.transparency.org/research/cpi/overview 
Global Innovation Index 2021 90 of 132 https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/analysis-indicator 
U.S. FDI in partner country (historical stock positions) 2020 USD 1,510 Million https://apps.bea.gov/international/factsheet/ 
World Bank GNI per capita 2019 USD 1,080 http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD 

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

3. Legal Regime

4. Industrial Policies

5. Protection of Property Rights

6. Financial Sector

7. State-Owned Enterprises

Public enterprises do not compete under the same terms and conditions as private enterprises because they have access to government subsidies and other benefits. SOEs are active in the power, communications, rail, telecommunications, insurance, aviation, and port sectors. SOEs generally report to ministries and are led by a board. Typically, a presidential appointee chairs the board, which usually includes private sector representatives. SOEs are not subjected to hard budget constraints. SOEs do not discriminate against or unfairly burden foreigners, though they do have access to sovereign credit guarantees.

Specific details on SOE financials and employment figures are not publicly available.

As of June 2019, the GoT’s Treasury Registrar reported shares and interests in 266 public parastatals, companies and statutory corporations ( view the most recent Treasury Registrar report ).

8. Responsible Business Conduct

The GoT’s National Environment Management Council (NEMC) undertakes enforcement, compliance, review, and monitoring of environmental impact assessments; performs research; facilitates public participation in environmental decision-making; raises environmental awareness; and collects and disseminates environmental information. Stakeholders, however, have expressed concerns over whether the NEMC has sufficient funding and capacity to handle its broad mandate.

There are no legal requirements for public disclosure of RBC, and the GoT has not yet addressed executive compensation standards. Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) listed companies, however, must release legally required information to shareholders and the general public. In addition, the DSE signed a voluntary commitment with the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative in June 2016, to promote long-term sustainable investments and improve environmental, social, and corporate governance. Tanzania has accounting standards compatible with international accounting bodies.

The Tanzanian government does not usually factor RBC into procurement decisions. The GoT is responsible for enforcing local laws, however, the media regularly reports on corruption cases where offenders allegedly avoid sanctions. There have also been reports of corporate entities collaborating with local governments to carry out controversial undertakings that may not be in the best interest of the local population.

Some foreign companies have engaged NGOs that monitor and promote RBC to avoid adversarial confrontations. In addition, some of the multinational companies who are signatories to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs) have taken the lead and appointed NGOs to conduct programs to mitigate conflicts between the mining companies, surrounding communities, local government officials and the police.

Tanzania is a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and in 2015 Tanzania enacted the Extractive Industries Transparency and Accountability Act, which demands that all new concessions, contracts and licenses are made available to the public. The government produces EITI reports that disclose revenues from the extraction of its natural resources.

Investors should be aware of human and labor rights concerns in the minerals and extractives sector, as well as agriculture. In May 2021 there was a high-profile USD 6 million out of court settlement for alleged breaches of human rights associated with third-party security operations at the Williamson Diamond Mine in Tanzania, which is 25% owned by the Government of Tanzania and 75% owned by Petra (UK). Petra (UK) agreed to pay claimants and committed to invest in programs dedicated to providing long-term sustainable support to the communities living around the Mine. Petra is also establishing a new and independent (“Tier 2”) Operational Grievance Mechanism (“OGM”). It will be managed by an independent panel and operate according to the highest international standards, as set out in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

9. Corruption

Tanzania has laws and institutions designed to combat corruption and illicit practices. It is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, but it is not a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery. While former President Magufuli’s focus on anti-corruption translated into an increased judiciary budget and new corruption cases, corruption is still viewed as a major, and potentially growing, problem. There have been various efforts to mitigate corruption – including implementing electronic services to reduce the opportunity for corruption through human interactions at agencies such as the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), the Business Registration and Licensing Authority (BRELA), and the Port Authority – however, the broader concerns surrounding corruption persist.

Tanzania has three institutions specifically focused on anti-corruption. The Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) prevents corruption, educates the public, and enforces the law against corruption. The Ethics Secretariat and its associated Ethics Tribunal under the President’s office enforce compliance with ethical standards defined in the Public Leadership Codes of Ethics Act 1995.

Companies and individuals seeking government tenders are required to submit a written commitment to uphold anti-bribery policies and abide by a compliance program. These steps are designed to ensure that company management complies with anti-bribery polices, though the effectiveness of this step is unclear.

The GoT is currently implementing its National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan Phase III (2017-2022) (NACSAP III) which is a decentralized approach focused on broad government participation. NACSAP III has been prepared to involve a broader domain of key stakeholders including GoT local officials, development partners, civil society organization (CSOs), and the private sector. The strategy puts more emphasis on areas that historically have been more prone to corruption in Tanzania such as oil, gas, and other natural resources. Despite the outlined role of the GoT, CSOs, NGOs and media find it increasingly difficult to investigate corruption in the current political environment.

The GoT’s anti-corruption campaign affected public discourse about the prevailing climate of impunity, and some officials are reluctant to engage openly in corruption. Some critics, however, question how effective the initiative will be in tackling deeper structural issues that have allowed corruption to thrive.

Transparency International (TI), which ranks perception of corruption in public sector, gave Tanzania a score of 39 points out of 100 for 2021 and 38 points for 2020. The Afrobarometer report estimates that between 2015 and 2019 the corruption increase in the previous 12 months was only 10 percent in Tanzania, the lowest in Africa. While for the same period, 23 percent of the respondents voted that Tanzania is doing a bad job of fighting corruption, again the lowest in Africa. Thirty-two percent of the respondents also noted that business executives are corrupt, up from 31 percent in 2015.

10. Political and Security Environment

Since gaining independence, Tanzania has enjoyed a relatively high degree of peace and stability compared to its neighbors in the region. Tanzania has held six national multi-party elections since 1995, the most recent in October 2020 which saw the ruling party’s candidates win by vast majorities. There were serious doubts about the credibility of the October 2020 elections on the mainland and Zanzibar, as there were for byelections in 2018 and 2019. Zanzibar, particularly experienced political violence several times since 1995, including in 2020.

Following the untimely death of President Magufuli (elected in October 2020) in March 2021, a peaceful transfer of power to Vice President Samia Suhulu Hassan took place in accordance with constitutionally mandated procedures. President Hassan continues to follow the CCM ruling party’s manifesto and has begun to lay out her own priorities, which include a reset on international relations and an effort to revive the private sector and attract foreign investment.

Tanzania is generally free from violent conflict, however, there are ongoing concerns about insecurity spilling over from neighboring countries, particularly religious extremism from the Tanzania-Mozambique border. There are a significant number of refugees from crisis and conflicts in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi, and the continuing violence in neighboring Mozambique has resulted in Mozambican citizens seeking refuge across the border in southern Tanzania.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Despite Tanzania’s large youth population, there is a shortage of skilled labor and gaps remain in professional training to support industrialization. Only 3.6 percent of Tanzania’s 20-million-person labor force is highly skilled. On the regional front, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya have committed to the EAC’s 2012 Mutual Recognition Agreement of engineers, making for a more regionally competitive engineering market.

In Tanzania, labor and immigration regulations permit foreign investors to recruit up to ten expatriates with the possibility of additional work permits granted under specific conditions. The Non-Citizens (Employment Regulation) Act 2015 introduced stricter rules for hiring foreign workers. Under the Act, the Labor Commissioner must determine if “all possible efforts have been explored to obtain a local expert” before approving a non-citizen work permit. In addition, employers must submit “succession plans” for foreign employees, detailing how knowledge and skills will be transferred to local employees. The Act was amended in 2021, increasing the period of work permit validity from five years to eight years, with applications to be renewed every 24 months. The non-citizens quota shall not preclude the investor from employing other non-citizens provided that such employment complies with the employment ratio of one non-citizen to ten local employees and that the investor has satisfied the Labor Commissioner that the nature of the business necessitates such number of non-citizens. Foreign investors may be granted ten-year work permits which may be extended if the investor is determined to be contributing to the economy and wellbeing of Tanzanians. In April 2021, the government introduced a simplified online system of applying and issuing work permit which reduces the waiting period from 33 days to less than a week.

Mainland Tanzania’s minimum wage, which has not changed since July 2013, is set by categories covering 12 employment sectors. The minimum wage ranges from TZS 100,000 ($43.20) per month for agricultural laborers to TZS 400,000 ($172.79) per month for laborers employed in the mining sector. Zanzibar’s minimum wage is TZS 300,000 ($129.59).

Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar governments maintain separate labor laws. Workers on the mainland have the right to join trade unions. Any company with a recognized trade union possessing bargaining rights can negotiate in a Collective Bargaining Agreement. In the public sector, the government sets wages administratively, including for employees of state-owned enterprises.

Mainland workers have the legal right to strike, and employers have the right to a lockout. The law restricts the right to strike when doing so may endanger the health of the population. Workers in certain sectors are restricted from striking or subject to limitations. In 2017, the GoT issued regulations that strengthened child labor laws, created minimum one-year terms for certain contracts, expanded the scope of what is considered discrimination, and changed contract requirements for outsourcing agreements.

The labor law in Zanzibar applies to both public and private sector workers. Zanzibar government workers have the right to strike as long as they follow procedures outlined in the Employment Act of 2005, but they are not allowed to join Mainland-based labor unions. Zanzibar requires a union with 50 or more members to be registered and sets literacy standards for trade union officers. An estimated 40 percent of Zanzibar’s workforce is unionized.

The Integrated Labor Force Survey of 2020/21 indicates that employment in the informal sector has increased from 22 percent in 2014 to 29.4 percent in 2020/21, with the most significant increase in rural areas. The informal sector operates outside of the legal system with no formal contracts, leaving workers vulnerable to precarious working conditions, limited social protection, and low earnings.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (USD) 2019 $63 billion 2020 $62.41 billion www.worldbank.org/en/country 
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country (USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2020 $1.47 million BEA data available at https://apps.bea.gov/international/factsheet/ 
Host country’s FDI in the United States (USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2020 $ (-2) million BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/
direct-investment-and-multinational-enterprises-comprehensive-data
 
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2020 1.5% UNCTAD data available at https://stats.unctad.org/handbook/Economic
Trends/Fdi.html
 

* Source for Host Country Data: host country data not publicly available.

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

There is no data for Tanzania in the IMF’s Coordinated Direct Investment Survey (CDIS).

According to the Bank of Tanzania, the top sources for inward foreign investment into Tanzania are South Africa, Canada, Nigeria, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Mauritius, Kenya, United States, Vietnam, and France.

Data on outward direct investment is not available.

Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment

There is no data for Tanzania in the IMF’s Coordinated Direct Investment Survey (CDIS).

14. Contact for More Information

Economic Officer
U.S. Embassy Dar es Salaam
686 Old Bagamoyo Road
Msasani, Dar es Salaam
Tel: 255-22-229-4000
DarPolEconPublic@state.gov 

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