Tanzania's 2021 growth seen climbing up to 5.3%

Workers prepare yarn at the A to Z Textile Mills factory producing insecticide-treated bednets in Arusha, Tanzania, May 10, 2016. REUTERS/Katy Migiro

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Tanzania’s economic growth is seen climbing this year in a range of up to 5.3% as a rollout of COVID-19 vaccines invigorates global economic activity, the World Bank said on Wednesday.

Economic output in Tanzania will expand at between 3-5.3% this year, said Mara Warwick, World Bank country director for Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Last year, growth fell to 2% from 5.8% in 2019, as the COVID-19 pandemic battered sectors like tourism, a key source of revenues and jobs.

“We expect real GDP for 2021 to fall in the range of 3 to 5.3% with realisation on the upper side of this range hinging on the strong recovery in the global economic activity supported by the roll out of the vaccine globally,” Warwick said during the launch of a report on the country’s economy.

Warwick said Tanzania had low debt and fiscal deficit levels as well high foreign reserves. These, combined with high prices for gold, one its major exports, would strengthen its recovery.

Tanzania, however, needed to prepare to roll out vaccinations like other countries to help save lives and stem COVID-19, she said.

“We would strongly advise the government to proactively engage with technical partners to prepare a plan for deploying a COVID-19 vaccine in Tanzania,” she said.

President John Magufuli drew criticism for suggesting the COVID-19 outbreak could be defeated with prayers and unproven remedies like steam inhalation. He has advised Tanzanians to stay away from coronavirus vaccines.

Reporting by Nuzulack Dausen; Writing by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne