IMF Approves Almost $600 Million for Tanzania Virus Response
(Bloomberg) -- The International Monetary Fund approved nearly $600 million in emergency lending for Tanzania’s health system and economic-recovery efforts as the nation battles the coronavirus pandemic.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has led to the collapse of the tourism sector and amplified the need for significant financing,” the Washington-based IMF said in a statement late Tuesday.
The IMF said that the funds should also help spur support for the nation from other development partners. Tanzania plans to borrow almost 10.8 trillion shillings ($4.7 billion), about half of which the authorities seek to raise from external sources. The money is needed to help fund the nation’s 2021-22 budget that seeks to more than double the annual growth rate to an estimated 5.7% this year.
The funding announcement follows talks between the IMF and Tanzania, with the government committing to resume publishing data on the spread of Covid-19 in order to determine the outbreak’s severity and an appropriate response. The authorities had stopped releasing the data after former President John Magufuli downplayed the disease before he died earlier this year.
His successor, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has since reversed Magufuli’s Covid-19 policies and launched a nationwide vaccination campaign. Still, the release of data is inconsistent -- the government last published Covid-19 statistics in July, when it reported 858 cases and 29 deaths.
The economic impact from the virus last year caused about 1 million people in Tanzania to fall into poverty.
“Tanzania’s risk of external and public debt distress increased to moderate, mainly due to the pandemic’s effect on tourism exports,” the IMF said. The macroeconomic outlook hinges on satisfactorily addressing Covid-19, “but significant downside risks remain due to uncertainties surrounding the course of the pandemic,” it said.
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