The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has loaned Tanzania more than half a billion dollars in emergency financing as the coronavirus pandemic drags on its economy and critical tourism sector.
The IMF approved $567 million (479 million euros) in COVID support for Tanzania, which until recently was an outlier in the global fight against the coronavirus and dismissed the gravity of the disease.
The Tanzanian economy slowed to 4.8 percent in 2020 as travel restrictions battered the tourism sector, a key earner in the East African country where growth was expected to remain muted in 2021.
The IMF said Tanzania faced “urgent” health, economic and humanitarian costs as a reported third wave of the pandemic swept the country.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted Tanzania’s macroeconomic outlook, and the health and wellbeing of its population,” Bo Li, IMF deputy managing director, said in a statement announcing the emergency funding on Tuesday.
The IMF said the pandemic-induced economic downturn had increased poverty and unemployment and increased debt risk, mainly due to the “collapse” of the tourism sector.