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Busines and Economy of Tanzania

Tanzania is predominantly an agrarian economy with the agriculture sector contributing over 40% of GDP and provides employment to over 80% of the work force. 80% of its population is dependent on agriculture for its livelihood. Cash crops, including cotton, coffee, tea, sisal, rice, tobacco and cashew nuts, are the country's main export earners, although depressed market prices have kept earnings and revenues stagnant.

Fortunately for Tanzania, there has been a substantial growth in the mineral sector with diamonds, gold and gemstones being mined on a commercial basis. Deposits of coal, phosphates, gypsum, tin, uranium, nickel, silver and natural gas have been located and off shore exploration licenses granted to multinational companies for the development of the last.

The manufacturing and industrial sector is not fully developed either with sugar processing, brewing, textiles and the manufacture of cigarettes being the most important industries. But whatever progress is made in terms of economic growth is negated by Tanzania’s huge external debt. The country receives foreign aid from both bilateral and multilateral donors and is trying to improve its financial picture with assistance from the World Bank and IMF monitored policies. Tanzania’s principal trading partners are the UK, Japan, Germany, India and Kenya.

Business Guide

Liberalisation of trade, reforms in the economic policy was implemented under the IMF programme. Attempts are underfoot to attract private investors as well as foreign capital. Tanzania is a member of the African Development Bank, the Southern African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). But in May 1999, a government notification announced that foreign nationals are not allowed to run small businesses in Tanzania. The government issued a list of fewer than 15 enterprises which non-Tanzanians are allowed to run, with 50% Tanzanian participation.

Western business customs are the norm and standard practices like scheduling meetings, being punctual, exchanging business cards apply in Tanzania. Most business executives speak English fluently, so language doesn’t pose a problem. Most offices work Mondays to Fridays, 8am and 5pm with an hour off for lunch between12 and 1pm. Saturdays are half days with work finishing by 12 noon. Government office hours are from 7.30am –3.30pm, Monday to Friday.

The Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, PO Box 9713, Dar es Salaam Tel # 255 22 2121421 Fax # :+255 22 2119437 can be contacted for additional business or commercial information.

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