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Tanzania this week held its first-ever tea auction in Dar es Salaam, concluding a five-year project that is expected to not only boost incomes for the country’s farmers but also see the Mombasa Tea Auction lose over 25 percent of its volumes.

Tanzania, a mid-tier East African tea producer, is banking on the lower cost of logistics with key high quality tea producers in the region to trade about 65,000 tonnes of tea weekly.

This is bad news for the Mombasa auction, the leading tea exporter in the world, which handles about 247,000 tonnes weekly. - ANTHONY KITIMO, The EastAfrican


Tanzania's President Samia Suluhu Hassan has emphasised the urgent need to close connectivity gaps in Africa to fast-track economic growth. She also acknowledged the critical role of the private sector in the growth of the continent’s economies and asked governments to embrace private enterprises.

She was speaking in Marrakech, Morocco on Wednesday in a presidential panel in the ongoing Africa Investment Forum.

The forum is organised by the Pan-African lender African Development Bank (AfDB) and other multilateral financial institutions.

This year’s theme is “Unlocking Africa’s Value Chains”.

President Samia said roads, railways and waterways will be critical in moving goods and people across the continent and outlined Tanzania’s plan to connect East, Central and Southern Africa.

“Connectivity is critical on our continent. I once attended a conference in Senegal, and I had first to go to Paris and then fly back to Africa. That’s a problem,” she said.

Noting that Tanzania shares borders with eight countries with whom it is connected by road, rail, water and air, she said her government was upgrading the old railway network while building a standard gauge railway line from the port of Dar es Salaam to connect to Burundi through the Democratic Republic of Congo then Rwanda and Uganda.

She also said Tanzania is ramping up mining of the strategic minerals critical for the global energy transition and greening of economies.

“We have cobalt, graphite, lithium and others. But we also have other energy sources, including gas and hydro,” she said.

Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente, who was also on the panel, called for resource cooperation and action for Africa to realise its development goals.

“The president of Tanzania mentioned the connectivity issue, which is very important because the connectivity facilitates not only the movement of goods but also people. African countries need to cooperate and work together for action because we already know the problem,” he said. - JACKSON MUTINDA, The EastAfrican


The size of Kenya’s debt from the World Bank crossed Ksh1.5 trillion ($9.99 billion) in June on increased disbursements and depreciation of the shilling.

Fresh data published by the Central Bank of Kenya shows Kenya’s outstanding loan to the multilateral lender stood at Ksh1.57 trillion ($10.45 billion) at the end of the previous financial year from Ksh1.46 trillion ($9.72 billion) at the end of May.

The Ksh110.9 billion ($738.35 million) growth in a single month now means close to 60 percent of total owings to multilateral lenders belong to the World Bank.

The sharp growth in external debt has been attributed to new disbursements in the last month of the financial year and also accelerated by a sustained depreciation by the local currency that has shed 17 percent since January.

“The Ksh309.4 billion ($2.1 billion) increase in external loans is attributable to disbursements made during the month and depreciation against major currencies” said Treasury in the release.

The bullish dollar has gained significantly against weaker currencies since the pandemic and accelerated by geo-political tensions that disrupted international trade.

According to the data, 73 percent of the country’s external debt is owed to World Bank, Eurobonds, China and the African Development Bank, giving a combined Ksh3.97 trillion ($26.4 billion).

Increased dependence on these financial partners for infrastructural developments and fiscal support has put the country on a difficult path as it juggles high debt service costs.

The Treasury estimates that the total debt service costs for the current financial year will increase to a record Ksh1.62 trillion ($10.8 billion) with 38 percent of that going to external lenders.

The Ksh1.6 trillion that will be used on debt service represents 64 percent of total ordinary revenue that the Treasury expects to net in the year ending June 2024.

High exposure

Overall, total debt to external lenders stood at Ksh5.4 trillion ($35.95 billion) in June and had risen to Ksh5.7 trillion ($37.95 billion) at the end of August, representing 54 percent of total public debt.

The high exposure to foreign currency risk will be felt as the country retires the 2024 Eurobond that will drain $2 billion from its reserves, translating to around Ksh300 billion. - BUSINESS DAILY

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