Tanzania Eager to Entice Foreign Investment

By Constantine, Gus | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 6, 2001 | Go to article overview

Tanzania Eager to Entice Foreign Investment


Constantine, Gus, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Byline: Gus Constantine

Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye of Tanzania spared few superlatives this week in selling his East African country to an American audience as a haven for foreign investors.

He cited its low-cost labor, strategic location and a series of "vigorous economic reforms" undertaken by President Benjamin Mkapa. These include the privatization of state-owned enterprises, relaxed rules on the repatriation of profits and reduced tax burdens.

At a luncheon hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa - which seeks to bring together Americans and Africans for business opportunities - Mr. Sumaye boasted about the shift toward free markets and privatization after decades of a failed socialist experiment.

"Our reforms have boosted GDP [growth] to between 4 [percent] and 6 percent. They have created jobs, and they have expanded the profit opportunities for investors," the prime minister said.

He also pronounced his country the most stable in the region, noting that it has become a haven for refugees from Central African wars.

Those refugees "would not be there if it were not such a stable country," he said.

Tanzania's economic reforms mark a wrenching shift from the "ujama," or cooperative economics, established by the country's founding father, Julius Nyerere.

The rejection of Mr. Nyerere's collectivist approach, particularly to agricultural production, began with Mr. Nyerere's successor, Ali Hassan Mwinyi, and accelerated under Mr. Mkapa's stewardship. Henry Cohen, a former assistant secretary of state for African affairs, yesterday described Mr. …

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