Tanzania Secures Nearly $600M From IMF For COVID Relief

Tanzania would receive $567m from the International Monetary Fund for emergency support to finance a COVID-19 vaccination campaign and meet the health and social costs of the pandemic, according to an IMF statement.

The IMF board approved on Tuesday a disbursement of $189m to Tanzania under its Rapid Credit Facility (RCF), as well as $378m under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), the global lender said.

The COVID-19 outbreak and its associated travel restrictions led to the collapse of Tanzania’s tourism sector.

After the death of John Magufuli in March and the takeover by President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Tanzania has started acknowledging the crisis, which caused a major deceleration to 4.8 percent growth in 2020, with growth to remain subdued in 2021.

The new funding will allow Tanzanian officials to address “the urgent health, humanitarian, and economic costs” of the pandemic, the IMF said. It will also help Tanzanian officials mobilise additional support from development partners, it said. Tanzania plans to borrow almost 10.8 trillion shillings ($4.7bn), about half of which the authorities seek to raise from external sources.

The funding announcement follows talks between the IMF and Tanzania, with the government committing to resuming publishing data on the spread of COVID-19 to determine the outbreak’s severity and appropriate response. The authorities had stopped releasing the data after former President Magufuli downplayed the disease before his death.

While his successor has launched a nationwide vaccination campaign, the release of data is still inconsistent – the government last published COVID-19 statistics in July, when it reported 858 cases and 29 deaths.

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

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