Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.
Foreign exchange reserve up to USD 6.7 billion
The Bank of Tanzania has reported that the foreign exchange reserve remains high at 6.7 billion at the end of October 2021, sufficient to cover about 7 months of projected imports, the highest rate so far in 5 years. This was reported in a monthly monetary policy committee statement following a sitting on November 15, 2021.
There might be various reasons for the increase of foreign exchange reserves including exports. The last monthly report for October 2021 from the Bank of Tanzania shows export from Tanzania has increased by USD 551 million to 9.4 billion by the year ending September 2021. The increase was due to the rise of manufacturing exports by 29.9 percent to USD 1127.7 million and food, specifically rice which increased to USD 303 million from USD 97.4 million. Gold continues to account for the largest share of export at 43 percent, surmounting to USD 2.8 billion.
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) also touched on the pace of economic growth citing that it has been slower than anticipated due to the resurgence of COVID-19 in some countries and the rising energy prices. MPC emphasized on the need to ensure adequate food supply and maintain a stable exchange rate.
It was also noted that the inflation rate has been slowly edging up since June 2021 but remains within target below 5 percent. The Tanzania inflation remains at 4 percent in October 2021, which is the highest rate recorded since March 2018
Air Tanzania orders four new Boeing jets
The national flag carrier of Tanzania Air Tanzania revealed on Tuesday that it has placed an order with Boeing for a 787-8 Dreamliner, a 767-300 Freighter, and two 737 MAX aircraft, with the new planes expected to be used to expand service from East Africa to new markets in Asia and Europe.
According to an aviation website Simple Flying, the order placed yesterday is valued at more than $726 million and was previously listed as being unidentified on the Boeing Orders and Deliveries website. In its 2021 Commercial Market Outlook, the Seattle planemaker forecasts that, by 2040, airlines on the African continent will need 1,030 new planes valued at $160 billion.
According to Air Tanzania, the introduction of the 737 MAX and 767 Freighter will give the ‘Wings of Kilimanjaro’ airline exceptional capability and flexibility to meet passenger and cargo demand within Africa and beyond.
Speaking particularly on the 787 Dreamliner, the company said: “The 787 Dreamliner will be the flagship aircraft as we renew and grow the Air Tanzania fleet. We aim to establish our long-haul capability by starting flights to Europe, Asia, and the USA over the coming years, and the 787 is the perfect aircraft to achieve this ambition.”
Air Tanzania has so far a fleet of 14 aircraft.
When speaking about the Dubai Airshow order, Boeing’s Van Rex Gallard, Vice President, Latin America, Africa & Caribbean Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said:
“I am pleased to welcome Air Tanzania as the newest member of the Dreamliner family. We are honoured that Air Tanzania has chosen the 787 to operate its long-haul operations. The 787 will significantly increase passenger numbers feeding on to its domestic flights thereby boosting overall tourism to Tanzania.”
Mpesa suffered 13.2pc customer decline in the second quarter
In its interim report for the period ending September 2021, Vodacom has reported that about 1.3 million M-Pesa customers stopped using M-Pesa services, leading to a 13.2 percent decline in customers in the second quarter. The changes resulted from the introduction of mobile money levies in July 2021.
Government had introduced the levies with the anticipation of collecting about 1.65 trillion, the levies were later revised and reduced by 30 percent following sustained complaints from users.
While Mpesa has maintained a consistent growth between 2017 and 2019 there was a shift of tides in 2020. At the same reporting period (September), Mpesa revenue growth was recorded at 17.2% in 2017, 10.9% in 2018, 6% in 2019. In 2020 M-pesa saw a decrease in revenue by 5%, with Vodacom reporting this was because of the barring of service to 800,000 Mpesa users due to registration requirement and changes in the regulation which suspended charging of dormant accounts.
For this year, Vodacom reported to have observed strong Mpesa growth in the first quarter by 18% however this was diluted leading up to a growth of only 1.1% by the end of September 2021.
Russia extends suspension of air traffic with Tanzania
Russia is extending the suspension of air traffic with Tanzania through December 1, a representative with the anti-coronavirus crisis centre told reporters on Tuesday, according to the Russian News Agency TASS.
The transnational nation of Russia suspended Air traffic with Tanzania for the first time on April 15, 2021, due to the worsening COVID-19 situation that was reported then in the East African nation.
However, Tanzania was one of the first countries Russia resumed flights within August 2020 after the lockdown was introduced in March due to the pandemic.
“Air traffic with Tanzania has been suspended through December 1,” TASS quoted a representative with the Russian anti-coronavirus crisis centre as saying.
Over 10,000 people sign petition calling for ban on plastic items in East Africa
An online petition calling for East African Assembly policymakers to ban all unnecessary single-use plastic items in order to preserve the health of people, the environment, and the economy has gathered a total of 10,000 signatures, according to a statement released Tuesday by East African climate activists.
The petition calls for a total ban on all unnecessary single-use plastic items including polythene and plastic bags, crisp and bread packets, plastic straws, food and beverage containers made from polystyrene, amongst others.
“We joined this campaign because our people demand urgent action,” Ana Rocha, the Executive Director with the Tanzanian based campaign group Nipe Fagio said in the statement. “Wherever you go from Tanzania to Uganda, the sight is the same: endless plastic choking our environment, threatening our lives and livelihoods.”
She urged African leaders to collectively take the lead and show the rest of the world what real action looks like when it comes to beating plastic pollution.
According to climate activists, each year, more than eight million metric tonnes of plastic end up in oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism.
Half of all the plastic produced globally is designed to be used once and thrown away, that is, single-use plastic, and every year, nations around the world throw away 300 million tonnes according to the United Nations; nearly equivalent to the weight of the entire human population.
While positive legislative steps have been taken across the East African region to address single-use plastic products, the activists say there are both complexities around the application of policy frameworks as well as inconsistent enforcement of the bans across member states.
“For some time East African countries have been making radical steps towards banning single-use plastics,” Kenya’s Director-General for the National Environmental Management Authority Mr Mamo Boru Mamo said in a statement. “But we see in cross-border ecosystems like Lake Victoria where plastic knows no borders, the crisis is escalating, where we find 1 in 5 of common fish species have ingested plastic.”
He added that only collaborative and coordinated action through regional and global treaties would achieve full success in tackling plastic pollution.
The activists hope that under increasing pressure, governments in the region will be able to present a bill to the East African assembly that will enforce legislative change that bans unnecessary single-use plastic items across the region.
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