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.
|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
The United Republic of Tanzania welcomes foreign direct investment (FDI) as it pursues its industrialization and development agenda. On her inauguration in March 2021, President Samia Suluhu Hassan identified removing obstacles to inward foreign investment as a key priority, along with other measures to improve the overall business climate and rebuild trust between the private sector and government. This follows declining FDI and investor confidence over the past six years, with UNCTAD’s 2021 World Investment Report indicating around $1.0 billion in FDI for 2020, stagnant growth in recent years and well below 2015 levels. The development of a $3.5 billion 1,400 km oil pipeline to transport crude oil extracted in Uganda to the Tanzanian port of Tanga could sustain investment in both countries in the future. Investors and potential investors note the biggest challenges to investment include difficulty in hiring foreign workers, unfriendly and opaque tax policies, increased local content requirements, regulatory and policy instability, lack of trust between the GoT and the private sector, and mandatory initial public offerings (IPOs) in key industries. In 2020 and 2021, the GoT recognized many of these concerns’ impacts on both foreign and domestic investment and created task forces and working groups to engage the private sector to identify solutions. These efforts were expanded by President Hassan’s government.
The United Republic of Tanzania has framework agreements on investment and offers various incentives and the services of investment promotion agencies. Investment is mainly a non-Union matter (i.e., different laws, policies, and practices apply between mainland Tanzania and the semi-autonomous state of Zanzibar). Zanzibar updated its investment policy in 2019, while the mainland/Union policy dates from 1996. Efforts to update the Mainland Investment Policy and Investment Act are underway, but incomplete as of the date of this publication. International agreements on investment are covered as Union matters and therefore apply to both regions.
The Tanzania Investment Center (TIC) is intended to be a one-stop center for investors, providing services such as permits, licenses, visas, and land ( ). The Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority (ZIPA) provides the same function in Zanzibar ( ).
The GoT has an ongoing dialogue with the private sector via the Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC). TNBC meetings are chaired by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania and co-chaired by the head of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF). President Hassan reinvigorated this formal mechanism during her first months in office. There is also a Zanzibar Business Council (ZBC), as well as Regional Business Councils (RBCs), and District Business Councils (DBCs).
Investors have found that technical expertise of their negotiating partners is a stumbling block to completing their investment plans. Investors should examine the level of sophistication of their negotiating partners at the onset of discussions to determine if outside expertise or training may be necessary. The U.S. government offers programs to develop expertise to facilitate investments and investors are encouraged to work with the Embassy’s economic and commercial sections to determine what, if any, programs may be available.
Foreign investors generally receive treatment equivalent to domestic investors, though limits persist in a number of sectors. There are no geographical restrictions on private establishments with foreign participation or ownership, no limitations on number of foreign entities that can operate in any given sector, and no sectors in which approval is required for greenfield FDI but not for domestic investment.
However, Tanzania discourages foreign investment in several sectors through limitations on foreign equity ownership or other activities, including aerospace; agribusiness (fishing); banking; insurance; construction and heavy equipment; travel and tourism; energy and environmental industries; information and communication; and publishing, media, and entertainment. In 2020, Tanzania relaxed but did not eliminate the foreign ownership limitations in the mining sector.
Specific examples include the following:
- The Tourism Act of 2008 bars foreign companies from engaging in mountain guiding activities, and states that only Tanzanian citizens can operate travel agencies, car rental services, or engage in tour guide activities (with limited exceptions).
- Per the Merchant Shipping Act of 2003, only citizen-owned ships are authorized to engage in local trade, a requirement that can be waived at the minister’s discretion. Furthermore, the Tanzania Shipping Agencies Act of November 2017 gives exclusive monopoly power to the Tanzania Shipping Agency Corporation (TASAC) to conduct business as shipping agent, shipping regulator, and licensor of other private shipping agencies. The Act also gives TASAC an exclusive mandate to provide clearing and forwarding functions relating to imports and exports of minerals, mineral concentrates, machinery and equipment for the mining and petroleum sector, products and/or extracts related to minerals and petroleum. arms and ammunition, live animals, government trophies, and any other goods that the minister responsible for maritime transport may specify. A 2019 amendment extended this exclusive mandate to additional imports, including fertilizers, sugar (both industrial and domestic), cooking oil, wheat, oil products, liquefied gas, and chemicals related to the products. As of May 2021, the extended mandate has yet to go into effect, following extensive objections for private sector stakeholders.
- A 2009 amendment to the Fisheries Regulations imposes onerous conditions for foreign citizens to engage in commercial fishing and the export of fishery products, sets separate licensing costs for foreign citizens and Tanzanians, and limits the types of fishery products that foreign citizens may work with.
- Foreign construction contractors can only obtain temporary licenses, per the Contractors Registration Act of 1997, and contractors must commit in writing to leave Tanzania upon completion of the set project. 2004 amendments to the Contractors Registration By-Laws limit foreign contractor participation to specified, more complex classes of work.
- Foreign capital participation in the telecommunications sector is limited to a maximum of 75 percent.
- All insurers require one-third controlling interest by Tanzania citizens, per the Insurance Act.
- The Electronic and Postal Communications (Licensing) Regulations 2011 limits foreign ownership of Tanzanian TV stations to 49 percent and prohibits foreign capital participation in national newspapers.
- Mining projects must be at least partially owned by the GoT and “indigenous” companies, and hire – or at least favor – local suppliers, service providers, and employees. (See Chapter 4: Laws and Regulations on FDI for details.). Gemstone mining is limited to Tanzanian citizens with waivers of the limitation at ministerial discretion. In February 2019, responding to low growth and investment in the sector, the government revised the 2018 Mining Regulations to reduce local ownership requirements from 51 percent to 20 percent.
Currently, foreigners can invest in stock traded on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE), but only East African residents can invest in government bonds. East Africans, excluding Tanzanian residents, however, are not allowed to sell government bonds bought in the primary market for at least one year following purchase.
There have not been any third-party investment policy reviews (IPRs) on Tanzania in the past several years, the most recent OECD report is for 2013. The World Trade Organization (WTO) published a Trade Policy Review in 2019 on all the East African Community states, including Tanzania.
The Business Registration and Licensing Agency (BRELA) issues certificates of compliance for foreign companies, certificates of incorporation for private and public companies, and business name registrations for sole proprietor and corporate bodies. After registering with BRELA, the company must: obtain a taxpayer identification number (TIN) certificate, apply for a business license, apply for a VAT certificate, register for workmen’s compensation insurance, register with the Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA), receive inspection from OSHA, and obtain a Social Security registration number.
The Tanzania Investment Center (TIC) now sits under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), after being moved around several times in recent years. The TIC is a one-stop shop which provides simultaneous registration with BRELA, TRA, and social security for enterprises whose minimum capital investment is not less than USD 500,000 if foreign-owned or USD 100,000 if locally owned. Throughout 2021, TIC has streamlined its operations to facilitate the process of business registration.
The government has been slow to implement its May 2018 Blueprint for Regulatory Reforms to improve the business environment and attract more investors. The reforms seek to improve the country’s ease of doing business through regulatory reforms and to increase efficiency in dealing with the government and its regulatory authorities. The official implementation of the Business Environment Improvement Blueprint started in July 2019, though there have been few tangible changes or advancements. President Hassan’s government identified implementation of the Blueprint as a priority for her first term.
Tanzania does not promote or incentivize outward investment. There are restrictions on Tanzanian residents’ participation in foreign capital markets and ability to purchase foreign securities. Under the Foreign Exchange (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (FEAR), however, there are circumstances when Tanzanian residents may trade securities within the East African Community (EAC). In addition, FEAR provides some opportunities for residents to engage in foreign direct investment and acquire real assets outside of the EAC.
3. Legal Regime
According to the World Bank’s Global Indicators of Regulatory Governance ( ), Tanzania scores low in regulatory governance with 1.25 out of 5 totals in transparency of regulatory governance (neighboring Kenya and Uganda, by contrast, both score 3.25).
Tanzania has formal processes for drafting and implementing rules and regulations. Generally, after an Act is passed by Parliament, the creation of regulations is delegated to a designated ministry. In theory, stakeholders are legally entitled to comment on regulations before they are implemented. However, ministries and regulatory agencies frequently fail to provide adequate opportunity for meaningful input as there is no minimum period of time for public comment set forth in law. Stakeholders often report that they are either not consulted or given too little time to provide meaningful input. Ministries or regulatory agencies do not have the legal obligation to publish the text of proposed regulations before their enactment. Sometimes, it is difficult to obtain the final, adopted version of a bill in a timely manner nor is it always public information if and when the President signed the bill. Moreover, the government over the past few years used presidential decree powers to bypass regulatory and legal structures.
The 2016 Access to Information law in theory grants citizens more rights to information; however, some claim that the Act gives too much discretion to the GoT to withhold disclosure. Although information, including rules and regulations, is available on the GoT’s “Government Portal” ( ), the website is generally not current and is incomplete. Alternatively, rules and regulations can be obtained on the relevant ministry’s website, but many offer insufficient information.
Nominally, independent regulators are mandated with impartially following the regulations. The process, however, has been criticized as being subject to political influence, depriving the regulator of the independence it is granted under the law.
Tanzania is part of both the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and subject to their respective regulations. Notably in 2021, Tanzania ratified the EAC’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Protocol after a protracted period of deliberation.
Tanzania is a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The national standards body, the Tanzania Bureau of Standards, was established in 1975. It has been most active in promoting standards and quality in process technology, including agro-processing, chemicals and textiles, and engineering, including mining and construction.
Tanzania is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its National Enquiry Point (NEP) is the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS). As the WTO NEP, TBS handles information on adopted or proposed technical regulations, as well as on standards and conformity assessment procedures. Tanzania does not notify all draft technical regulations to the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).
Tanzania’s legal system is based on the English Common Law system. The first source of law is the 1977 Constitution, followed by statutes or acts of Parliament; and case law, which are reported or unreported cases from the High Courts and Courts of Appeal and are used as precedents to guide lower courts. The Court of Appeal, which handles appeals from Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar, is the highest court, followed by the High Court, which handles civil, criminal and commercial cases. There are four specialized divisions within the High Courts: Labor, Land, Commercial, and Corruption and Economic Crimes. The Labor, Land, and Corruption and Economic Crimes divisions have exclusive jurisdiction over their respective matters, while the Commercial division does not claim exclusive jurisdiction. The High Court and the District and Resident Magistrate Courts also have original jurisdiction in commercial cases subject to specified financial limitations.
Apart from the formal court system, there are quasi-judicial bodies, including the Tax Revenue Appeals Tribunal and the Fair Competition Tribunal, as well as alternate dispute resolution procedures in the form of arbitration proceedings. Judgments originating from countries whose courts are recognized under the Reciprocal Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (REFJA) are enforceable in Tanzania. To enforce such judgments, the judgment holder must make an application to the High Court of Tanzania to have the judgment registered. Countries currently listed in the REFJA include Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Zambia, Seychelles, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, the United Kingdom, and Sri Lanka.
The Tanzanian constitution guarantees judicial independence. However, the degree of judicial independence has varied significantly in the past few years, and many perceive that political interference and corruption in the form of illicit payments to influence decisions in justice is a concern.
Regulations and enforcement actions are appealable, and they are adjudicated in the national court system.
Several laws and regulations enacted over the past six years affect the risk-return profile on foreign investments, especially those in the extractives and natural resources industries. The laws/regulations include the Natural Wealth and Resources (Permanent Sovereignty) Act 2017, Natural Wealth and Resources Contracts (Review and Renegotiation of Unconscionable Terms) Act 2017, Written Laws (Miscellaneous Act) 2017, and Mining (Local Content) Regulations 2019. These acts were introduced by the executive branch under a certificate of urgency, meaning that standard advance publication requirements were waived to expedite passage. As a result, there was minimal stakeholder engagement. Stakeholders continue to call for revision to these laws.
Investors, especially those in natural resources and mining, express concern about the effects of these laws. Two laws apply to “natural wealth and resources,” which are broadly defined and not only include oil and gas, but in theory, could include wind, sun, and air space. Investors are encouraged to seek legal counsel to determine the effect these laws may have on existing or potential investments. For natural resources, the new laws subject the contracts, past and present, to Parliamentary review. More specifically, the law states “Where [Parliament] considers that certain terms …or the entire arrangement… are prejudicial to the interests of the People and the United Republic by reason of unconscionable terms it may, by resolution, direct the Government to initiate renegotiation with a view to rectifying the terms.” Further, if the GoT’s proposed renegotiation is not accepted, the offending terms are automatically expunged. “Unconscionable” is defined broadly, including catch-all definitions for clauses that are, for example, “inequitable or onerous to the state.” Under the law, the judicial branch does not play a role in determining whether a clause is “unconscionable.” The Mining (Local Content) Regulations 2019 require that ‘indigenous’ Tanzanian companies are given first preference for mining licenses. An ‘indigenous Tanzanian company’ is one incorporated under the Companies Act with at least 20 percent of its equity owned by and 100 percent of its non-managerial positions held by Tanzanians (this is an improvement from the 2018 regulations which required 51 percent Tanzanian ownership). Furthermore, foreign mining companies must have at least five percent equity participation from an indigenous Tanzanian company and must grant the GoT a 16 percent carried interest. Lastly, foreign companies that supply goods or services to the mining industry must incorporate a joint venture company in which an indigenous Tanzanian company must hold equity participation of at least 20 percent.
Note: TIC and the GoT are currently in the process of reviewing several investment- and business-related regulations. Investors are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy or to seek legal counsel with a firm operating in Tanzania.
The Fair Competition Commission (FCC) is an independent government body mandated to intervene, as necessary, to prevent significant market dominance, price fixing, extortion of monopoly rent to the detriment of the consumer, and market instability. The FCC has the authority to restrict mergers and acquisitions if the outcome is likely to create market dominance or lead to uncompetitive behavior.
The constitution and investment acts require government to refrain from nationalization. However, the GoT may expropriate property after due process for the purpose of national interest. The Tanzanian Investment Act guarantees payment of fair, adequate, and prompt compensation; access to the court or arbitration for the determination of adequate compensation; and prompt repatriation in convertible currency where applicable. For protection under the Tanzania Investment Act, foreign investors require $500,000 minimum capital and Tanzanian investors require $100,000.
There are numerous examples of indirect expropriation, such as confiscatory tax regimes or regulatory actions that deprive investors of substantial economic benefits from their investments. This is another area that the GoT expected to address in 2021, though significant changes to tax-related laws and regulations have yet to be finalized.
Tanzania has a bankruptcy law which allows for companies to declare insolvency. The insolvency process includes the appointment of receiver managers, administrative receivers, or liquidators. In practice the process is very long and expensive. Preferential debts such as government taxes and rents, outstanding wages and salaries, and other employee compensation take priority over other claims, including those from creditors. Insolvent or illiquid companies may also seek the protection of the courts by seeking a compromise or arrangement as proposed between a company and its creditors, a certain class of creditors, or its shareholders.
Bankruptcy proceedings can take several years to conclude in Tanzania. The recovery rate for creditors on insolvent firms was reported at 20.4 U.S. cents on the dollar, with judgments typically made in local currency.
4. Industrial Policies
The Tanzania Investment Center (TIC) offers a package of investment benefits and incentives to both domestic and foreign investors without performance requirements. A minimum capital investment of $500,000 if foreign owned or $100,000 if locally owned is required. (At the time of this publication, the government was revising these incentives. Investors are advised to consult the TIC for up-to-date information.)
Current investment incentives include the following:
- Discounts on customs duties, corporate taxes, and VAT paid on capital goods for investments in mining, infrastructure, road construction, bridges, railways, airports, electricity generation, agribusiness, telecommunications, and water services.
- 100 percent capital allowance deduction in the years of income for the above-mentioned types of investments – though there is ambiguity as to how this is accomplished.
- No remittance restrictions. The GoT does not restrict the right of foreign investors to repatriate returns from an investment.
- Guarantees against nationalization and expropriation. Any dispute arising between the GoT and investors may be settled through negotiations or submitted for arbitration.
- Allowing interest deduction on capital loans and removal of the five-year limit for carrying forward losses of investors.
Investors may apply for “Strategic Status” or “Special Strategic Status” to receive further incentives. The criteria used to determine whether an investor may receive these designations are available on TIC’s website ( ).
The government introduces waivers through the Public Finance Act with the aim of attracting investment in certain targeted sectors. In Financial year 2021/2022, the government introduced VAT exemption on entities with agreements with the GoT for the operation or execution of strategic projects, to the extent that the agreements provide for such exemption; a strategic project is defined as a project that has been so determined by the Cabinet of Ministers. The government also re-introduced VAT exemption for non-governmental organizations having agreements with the GoT, to the extent that the agreements provide for such exemption. The minister of finance may make regulations prescribing the manner of application, granting and monitoring of exemptions, which previously required the minister to appoint a technical committee for guidance on these matters.
The government does not currently offer any incentives for clean energy investments.
The Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) oversees Tanzania’s Export Processing Zones (EPZs) and Special Economic Zones (SEZs). EPZA’s core objective is to build and promote export-led economic development by offering investment incentives and facilitation services ( ). Minimum capital requirements for EPZ and SEZ investors are $500,000 for foreign investors and $100,000 for local investors. Investment incentives offered for EPZs include the following:
- An exemption from corporate taxes for ten years.
- An exemption from duties and taxes on capital goods and raw materials.
- An exemption on VAT for utility services and on construction materials.
- An exemption from withholding taxes on rent, dividends, and interests.
- Exemption from pre-shipment or destination inspection requirements.
- SEZs offer similar incentives, excluding the ten-year exemption from corporate taxes.
The Zanzibar Investment Promotion Agency (ZIPA) and the Zanzibar Free Economic Zones Authority (ZAFREZA) offer the following incentives:
Category “A” Free Economic Zone Developers: Development of Infrastructure
The developer of a Free Economic Zone shall benefit to the following incentives:
- exemption from payment of taxes and duties for machinery, equipment, heavy duty vehicles, building and construction materials, and any other goods of capital nature to be used for purposes of development of the Free Economic Zone infrastructure.
- exemption from payment of corporate tax for an initial period of ten years and thereafter a corporate tax, shall be charged at the rate specified in the Income Tax Act.
- exemption from payment of withholding tax on rent, dividends ‘and interest for the first ten years.
- exemption from payment of property tax for the first ten years.
- remission of customs duty, value added tax and any other tax payable in respect of importation of one administrative vehicle, ambulances, firefighting equipment and firefighting vehicles and up to two buses for employees’ transportation to and from the Free Economic Zone.
- exemption from payment of stamp duty on any instrument executed in or outside the Free Economic Zone relating to transfer, lease or hypothecation of any movable or immovable property situated within the Free Economic Zone or any document, certificate, instrument, report or record relating to any activity, action, operation, project, undertaking, or venture in the Free Economic Zone;
- treatment of goods destined into Free Economic Zones as transit goods; and
- on site customs inspection of goods within Free Economic Zones.
Category “B” Free Economic Zones Operators: Approved Investors Producing for Sale into the Customs Territory
Approved Investors whose primary markets are within the customs territory shall be entitled to the:
- remission of customs duty, value added tax and any other tax charged on raw materials and goods of capital nature related to the production in the Free Economic Zones;
- exemption from payment of withholding tax on interest on foreign sourced loan;
- remission of customs duty, value added tax and any other tax payable in respect of importation of one administrative vehicle, one ambulances, firefighting equipment and firefighting vehicles and up to two buses for employees’ transportation into and from the Free Economic Zones;
- exemption from pre-shipment or destination inspection requirements;
- on site customs inspection of goods within Free Economic Zones;
- access to competitive, modern and reliable services available within the Free Economic Zones; and
- subject to compliance with applicable conditions and procedures for foreign exchange and payment of tax whenever appropriate, unconditional transfer through any authorized dealer bank in freely convertible currency of:
(i) net profits or dividends attributable to the investment; (ii) payments in respect of loan servicing where a foreign loan has been obtained;
(ii) payments in respect of loan servicing where a foreign loan has been obtained; (iii) royalties, fees and charges for any technology transfer agreement;
(iii) royalties, fees and charges for any technology transfer agreement; (iv) the remittance of proceeds in the event of sale or liquidation of the licensed business or any interest attributable to the licensed business;
(iv) the remittance of proceeds in the event of sale or liquidation of the licensed business or any interest attributable to the licensed business; and
(v) payments of emoluments and other benefits to foreign personnel employed in Tanzania in connection with the licensed business.
Category “C” Free Economic Zone Operators: Approved Investors Producing for Export Markets
- Approved Investors producing for export markets in non-manufacturing or processing sectors shall be entitled to the:
- subject to compliance with applicable conditions and procedures, accessing the export credit guarantee scheme;
- remission of customs duty, value added, and any other tax charged on raw materials and goods of capital nature related to the production in the Free Economic Zones;
- exemption from payment of corporate tax for an initial period of ten years and thereafter, a corporate tax shall be charged at the rate specified in the Income Tax Act;
- exemption from payment of withholding tax on rent, dividends and interests for the first ten years;
- exemption from payment of all taxes and levies imposed by the Local Government Authorities for products produced in the Free Economic Zones for a period of ten years;
- exemption from pre-shipment or destination inspection requirements;
- on site customs inspection of goods in the Free Economic Zones;
- remission of customs duty, value added tax and any other tax payable in respect of importation of one administrative vehicle, ambulances, firefighting equipment and vehicles and up to two buses for employees’ transportation to and from the Free Economic Zones;
- treatment of goods destined into Free Economic Zones as transit goods;
- access to competitive, modern and reliable services available within the Free Economic Zones; and
- subject to compliance with applicable conditions and procedures for foreign exchange and payment of tax whenever appropriate, unconditional transfer through any authorized dealer bank in freely convertible currency of:
(i) net profits or dividends attributable to the investment;
(ii) payments in respect of loan servicing where a foreign loan has been obtained;
(iii) royalties, fees and charges for any technology transfer agreement;
(iv) the remittance of proceeds in the event of sale or liquidation of the business enterprises or any interest attributable to the investment;
(v) payments of emoluments and other benefits to foreign personnel employed in Tanzania in connection with the business enterprise; twenty percent of total turnover is allowed to be sold to the local market and is subject to the payment of all taxes;
- twenty percent of total turnover is allowed to be sold to the local market and is subject to the payment of all taxes;
- hundred percent foreign ownership is allowed; and
- no limit to the duration that goods may be stored in the Freeport Zones.
2. For purposes of this section, investors licensed primarily for export markets are investors whose exports are more than eighty percent of total annual production.
Incentives and allowances outside Free Economic Zones
1. Approved investor investing outside Free Economic Zones, may be granted the:
- exemption from payment of import duty, excise duty Value Added Tax and other similar taxes on machinery, equipment, spare parts, vehicles and other input necessary and exclusively required by that enterprise during construction period indicated in the Investment Certificate;
- exemption from payment of business license fee for the first three months of trial operation;
- corporate tax exemption for up to five years;
- hundred percent foreign ownership;
- hundred percent retention of all profits after tax;
- hundred percent allowance Research and Development; and
- hundred percent allowance for free repatriation of profit after tax.
2. Without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Part, approved investor investing in manufacturing sector may further be granted the:
- exemption from payment of any tax on all goods produced for exports;
- exemption from payment of trade levy for raw materials and industrial inputs procured from Tanzania mainland;
- exemption from payment of import duty, VAT, and other similar taxes on raw and packaging materials during project operations;
- exemption of Income Tax on interest on registered borrowed capital; and
- hundred percent allowance investment deduction on capital expenditure within five years.
3. Without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Part, Approved Investor investing in real estate business may also be granted the:
- exemption of income tax on interest on borrowed capital;
- stamp duty exemption;
- hundred percent allowance investment deduction on capital expenditure within five years; and
- capital gains tax on properties sold or purchased.
Tanzania’s export processing zones (EPZs) and special economic zones (SEZs) are assigned geographical areas or industries designated to undertake specific economic activities with special regulations and infrastructure requirements. EPZ status can also be extended to stand-alone factories at any geographical location. EPZ status requires the export of 80 percent or more of the goods produced. SEZ status has no export requirement, allowing manufacturers to sell their goods locally. There are currently 14 designated EPZ/SEZ industrial parks, 10 of which are in development, and 75 stand-alone EPZ factories.
The Non-Citizens (Employment Regulation) Act of 2015 (see Section 12 Labor Policies and Practices below) requires employers to attempt to fill positions with Tanzanian citizens before seeking work permits for foreign employees, and to develop plans to transition all positions held by foreign employees to local employees over time. The Act was amended in June 2021 to extend the time limit for work permits of non-citizen employees from the initial five years to eight years; applications are now submitted through the Online Work Permit Application and Issuance System (OWAIS). The amendment also allows an investor who has been granted incentives and registered with the TIC and Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) to employ up to ten non-citizens. Prior to the amendment, an investor could employ up to five non-citizens during the initial period of investment.
Because the local content (LC) initiative cuts across all economic sectors, the government decided that oversight of LC development should take a multi-sector approach, rather than being confined to a single ministry or sector. In 2015, the government directed the National Economic Empowerment Council (NEEC) to oversee implementation of local empowerment initiatives. The objective of the local content policy is to put local products and services – delivered by businesses owned and operated by Tanzanians – in an advantageous position to exploit opportunities emanating from inbound foreign direct investments. In 2015, the GoT enacted The Petroleum Act and, subsequently, issued The Petroleum (Local Content) Regulations 2017. Similarly, in 2017, the GoT amended mining laws, issuing The Mining (Local Content) Regulations 2018. (See Chapter 4: Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment for more on recent local content laws.)
Bank of Tanzania (BoT) regulations require banks to physically house their primary data centers in Tanzania or face steep penalties.
The GoT launched a USD 94 million National Internet Data Center (NIDC) in 2016, which is operated by the GoT’s Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL). Under the Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation (TTC) Act 2017, the TTC plans, builds, operates and maintains the “strategic telecommunications infrastructure,” which is defined as transport core infrastructure, data center and other infrastructure that the GoT proclaims “strategic” via official public notice.
5. Protection of Property Rights
All land is owned by the government and procedures for obtaining a lease or certificate of occupancy may be complex and lengthy. Less than 15 percent of land has been surveyed, and registration of title deeds is handled manually, mainly at the local level. Foreign investors may occupy land for investment purposes through a government-granted right of occupancy (“derivative rights” facilitated by TIC), or through sub-leases from a granted right of occupancy. Foreign investors may also partner with Tanzanian leaseholders to gain land access.
Land may be leased for up to 99 years, but the law does not allow individual Tanzanians to sell land to foreigners. There are opportunities for foreigners to lease land, including through TIC, which has designated specific plots of land (a land bank) to be made available to foreign investors. Foreign investors may also enter into joint ventures with Tanzanians, in which case the Tanzanian provides the use of the land (but retains ownership, i.e., the leasehold).
Secured interests in property are recognized and enforced. Though TIC maintains a land bank, restrictions on foreign ownership may significantly delay investments. Land not in the land bank must go through a lengthy approval process by local-level authorities, the Ministry of Lands, Housing, Human Settlements Development (MoLHHSD), and the President’s Office to be designated as “general land,” which may be titled for investment and sale.
The MoLHHSD handles registration of mortgages and rights of occupancies and the Office of the Registrar of Titles issues titles and registers mortgage deeds. Title deeds are recognized as collateral for securing loans from banks. In January 2018, the GoT amended the land law, requiring that loan proceeds secured by mortgaging underdeveloped land be used solely to develop the specific piece of land used as collateral. The changes apply to general land managed by the MoLHHSD’s Commissioner for Lands, who must receive a report from the lender showing how loan proceeds will be used to develop the land. The law does not apply to village land allocated by village councils, which cannot be mortgaged to a financial institution.
The GoT’s Copyright Society of Tanzania (COSOTA) is responsible for registration and enforcement of copyrighted materials, while the Business Registrations and Licensing Agency (BRELA) within the Ministry of Trade administers trademark and patent registration. It is the responsibility of the rights holders to enforce their rights where relevant, retaining their own counsel and advisors. The Fair Competition Commission (FCC) promotes competition, protects consumers against unfair market conduct, and has quasi-judicial powers to determine trademark and patent infringement cases. The FCC is also tasked with combating the sale of counterfeit merchandise. However, the Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) handles counterfeit human medicines, cosmetics, and packaged food materials, and its mandate is stipulated in the Tanzania Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics Act (TFDCA) as per the amendment of 2019. Despite its efforts, limited resources make it difficult for the GoT to adequately combat counterfeiting.
Tanzania is not included in the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Special 301 Report or the Notorious Markets List.
6. Financial Sector
Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) is a self-listed publicly owned company. In 2013, the DSE launched a second-tier market, the Enterprise Growth Market (EGM) with lower listing requirements designed to attract small and medium sized companies with high growth potential. As March 2022, the total market capitalization was $7.076 billion, a 5.6 percent increase from March 2021 ($6.7 billion). The Capital Markets and Securities Authority (CMSA) Act facilitates the flow of capital and financial resources to support the capital market and securities industry. Tanzania, however, restricts the free flow of investment in and out of the country, and Tanzanians cannot sell or issue securities abroad unless approved by the CMSA.
Under the Capital Markets and Securities (Foreign Investors) Regulation 2014, there is no aggregate value limitation on foreign ownership of listed non-government securities. Only companies or citizens from EAC nations are permitted to participate in the government securities market. Even with this recent development allowing EAC participation, foreign ownership of government securities is still limited to 40 percent of each security issued.
Tanzania’s Electronic and Postal Communications Act 2010 amended in 2016 by the Finance Act 2016 requires telecom companies to list 25 percent of their shares via an initial public offering (IPO) on the DSE. Of the seven telecom companies that filed IPO applications with the CMSA, only Vodacom’s application received approval.
As part of the Mining (Minimum Shareholding and Public Offering) Regulations 2016, large scale mining operators were required to float a 30 percent stake on the DSE by October 7, 2018. Currently, no mining companies are listed on the DSE.
Tanzania’s financial inclusion rate increased significantly over the past decade thanks to mobile phones and mobile banking. However, participation in the formal banking sector remains low. Low private sector credit growth and high non-performing loan (NPL) rates are persistent problems. The NPL ratios further deteriorated with the COVID 19 pandemic.
According to the IMF’s most recent Financial System Stability Assessment ( ), Tanzania’s bank-dominated financial sector is small, concentrated, and at a relatively nascent stage of development. Financial services provision is dominated by commercial banks, with the ten largest institutions being preeminent in terms of mobilizing savings and intermediating credit. The report found that nearly half of Tanzania’s 45 banks are vulnerable to adverse shocks and risk insolvency in the event of a global financial crisis.
The two largest banks are CRDB Bank and National Microfinance Bank (NMB), which represent almost 30 percent of the market. The only U.S. bank operating in Tanzania is Citibank Tanzania Limited. Private sector companies have access to commercial credit instruments including documentary credits (letters of credit), overdrafts, term loans, and guarantees. Foreign investors may open accounts and earn tax-free interest in Tanzanian commercial banks, however a special exemption is required from the Bank of Tanzania to open an account as a “foreign entity.” A foreign entity account is an account owned by a company without a registered, legal business presence in Tanzania.
The Banking and Financial Institution Act 2006 established a framework for credit reference bureaus, permits the release of information to licensed reference bureaus, and allows credit reference bureaus to provide to any person, upon a legitimate business request, a credit report. Currently, there are two private credit bureaus operating in Tanzania: Credit Info Tanzania Limited and Dun & Bradstreet Credit Bureau Tanzania Limited.
Tanzania does not have a sovereign wealth fund.
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 ).
The government retains a strong presence in energy, mining, telecommunication services, and transportation. The government is increasingly empowering the state-owned Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation Limited (TTCL) with the objective of safeguarding the national security, promoting socio-economic development, and managing strategic communications infrastructure. The government also acquired 51 percent of Airtel Telecommunication Company Limited and became the majority shareholder. In the past, the GoT has sought foreign investors to manage formerly state-run companies in public-private partnerships, but successful privatizations have been rare. Though there have been attempts to privatize certain companies, the process is not always clear and transparent. The GoT currently has 20 companies/assets awaiting privatization.
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.
Department of State
- Country Reports on Human Rights Practices;
- Trafficking in Persons Report;
- Guidance on Implementing the “UN Guiding Principles” for Transactions Linked to Foreign Government End-Users for Products or Services with Surveillance Capabilities;
- U.S. National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises; and;
- Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory
Department of the Treasury
Department of Labor
Tanzania maintains a national climate strategy, and recently developed and submitted its second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2021. Its second NDC builds on the 2021 National Climate Change Strategy (NCCS), the 2014 Zanzibar Climate Change Strategy (ZCCS) and other national climate change development processes.
Tanzania has also developed/adopted and implements various other policies, legislation, strategies, plans and programs to address climate change. This includes Tanzania’s National Communications Plans (2003 and 2015); Natural Gas Policy (2013); the Zanzibar Environmental Policy (2014); the Renewable Energy Strategy (2014); the Natural Gas Act (2015); the National Forestry Policy (1998); the National Transport Master Plan (2013); the National Environmental Policy (1997 and 2022); the Zanzibar Environmental Policy (2013); the National Environmental Action Plan (2012-2017); the National REDD+ Strategy and Action Plan (2013); the National Climate-Smart Agriculture Program (2015-2025); and the National Environment Management Act (2004).
Despite Tanzania’s low greenhouse gas emissions, the country is committed to climate change mitigation and adaption strategies. Tanzania’s 2021 National Environmental Policy reflects the country’s commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Strategies and policies exist, but specifics are lacking, as is data sharing on progress towards targets and goals. The GoT’s second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) – submitted to UNFCCC in 2021 – highlights an overall mitigation goal of nationally reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30-35% relative to Business-As-Usual scenario by 2030, and indicates that it has formulated the cost of net-zero emissions by 2050, though the details are not clear.
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
* 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).