Tanzania Bank Chief Decries Reliance on West to Fund Projects

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(Bloomberg) -- Tanzania can avoid taking on more debt from the Western countries and firms by financing its own infrastructure, according to the central bank.

This reinforces President John Magufuli’s plan to use the state’s resources to fund the development of a $2.9 billion hydroelectric plant. The government plans to spend 11.9 trillion shillings ($5.17 billion) for infrastructure in 2019-20.

“Can Tanzania sustain continued spending on these infrastructure? The answer is yes, because it is depending on resources that are available and which can be mobilized,” Governor Florens Luoga said in an interview in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. “The tradition of looking to the West for loans to invest in infrastructure is a bit of weakness on the part of African countries.”

The government is building a new railway linking its commercial Dar es Salaam hub to western neighbors Rwanda, Burundi and the natural resource-rich Democratic Republic of Congo. Other planned projects include a $700 million Rumakali hydropower plant and a $690 million Dar es Salaam port expansion.

For the new 1,457 kilometer (905 mile) railway, Tanzania has already arranged to borrow 3.3 trillion shillings from the Standard Chartered Plc and $200 million from the Trade and Development Bank in 2018.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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