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Tanzania President Promises a Transformative Economic Agenda

Tanzania’s new president, Samia Hassan, won accolades from Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, and fellow billionaire Muhammad Dewji for her business-friendly noises. Since she took office on March 19, Hassan — Africa’s only female head of government — has signalled a new business-friendly era, pledging to reverse her predecessor’s policies that antagonised investors and hit foreign investments. Hassan promised to dismantle barriers put up by former president John Magufuli and resurrect a $30bn natural gas project, prompting Dangote and Dewji to say Tanzania seems to be opening for business again. Hassan has swiftly moved to fast-track several large projects that had been stalled. They include the liquefied natural gas terminal planned by Equinor, Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil and other partners and a $3bn joint venture with China’s Sichuan Hongda for an iron ore and coal mine. In June, she said her government has resumed talks on a planned $10bn port project backed by China, suspended by Magufuli in a disagreement over terms. Tanzania’s economy has fared better than most in the region since the onset of the pandemic, with the International Monetary Fund estimating it grew by 1% last year when most economies shrank, while forecasting it to expand by 2.7% this year.