PUBLISHED ON August 7th, 2014


Tanzania will now allow East Africans to freely move capital in and out of the country — a move that is expected to increase cross-border investment and deepen economic integration.

The IMF in its latest disclosure on the Tanzanian economy said that the country had informed it that it had opened its capital account to East African nationals ahead of full liberalisation, which will allow the rest of the world to bring capital in and out of Tanzania with no restrictions.

The changes are part of a wider plan to loosen state control of the economy, which will also see the country allow its currency greater exchange rate flexibility and adopt new monetary tools.

“As a first step, the authorities have allowed for freer flows of capital among EAC residents since June, which they see facilitating trade, financial and investment flows within the region.

The next step would be to extend this with the rest of the world by end-June 2015, in line with Tanzania’s commitments under the EAC Common Market Protocol,” said the IMF.

Under the Common Market Protocol, countries are supposed to open up their economies to allow the free movement of people and capital.

Saada Mkuya Salum, Tanzania’s Finance Minister, in a June letter authored jointly with the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) and addressed to the IMF, notes that the decision to liberalise the country’s capital account to East African Community residents will allow freer movement of capital within the region, facilitate intra-EAC trade, and lead to increased financial flows and investments.

Normally, countries impose capital controls in order to reduce their exposure to external factors and limit capital outflows.

Allowing the Tanzania shilling greater flexibility has been previously cited by the IMF as one of the things that could help increase the country’s competitiveness: “Tanzania is becoming increasingly interconnected with the global economy and a greater focus on international competitiveness is warranted. Accordingly, the exchange rate should fully reflect market conditions,” said the IMF in May.

The BoT said it will now step in only when there is an urgent need for its intervention.

“The flexibility of the exchange rate will be further enhanced to help cushion against adverse external developments. The BoT will participate in the foreign exchange market only for liquidity management purposes and to smooth out short-term fluctuations in the exchange rate,” said BoT Governor Benno Ndulu.

Business leaders said the opening up will help make the country even more competitive.

Source URL: The East African

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