Red carpet for investors
The crackdown on expatriate workers is taking place parallel to government rolling out the red carpet for investors. An UNCTAD report in July 2013 revealed that Tanzania attracted $1.5bn in foreign direct investment between June 2012 and June 2013 while Kenya lost its allure and only received $188m. In October 2013, Tanzania opened its Maendeleo Bank’s initial public offering (IPO) to Kenyans, marking a significant departure from the past when it would maintain a tighter grip on its capital account and treat Kenyan, Rwandese and Burundian investors as foreigners.
Alongside its successes in attracting investment, some remarkable stories have emerged from the private sector. Tanzania’s family businesses have performed particularly well including the Bakhresa Group, Sumaria Group, MeTL Group and MAC group.
In addition, one of the leading financial institutions in the country today is the CRDB ank led by Dr Charles Kimei. The bank received the Superbrand award in December 2013, and ranked third in East Africa in brand recognition. The IPP media conglomerate has also made significant strides under the executive chairmanship of Dr Reginald Mengi and today owns eight newspapers, four radio stations and three television stations.
But as the Tanzania economy slowly comes into its own, the government’s decision to intensify protectionist policies may overturn the gains of the last three decades, and kill the goose that laid the golden egg.