The report released in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam recognized mitigating steps that the government has already taken. The forecast assumed that the government of President John Magufuli will take additional health and economic policy measures to mitigate negative impacts.
However, there were downside risks for even slower growth if additional policy response was delayed or not well-targeted, or the external environment did not markedly improve this year, said the report.
“International travel bans and caution against contracting the virus have severely hurt the tourism sector, which had been one of the fastest-growing sectors in the economy,” the bank said in a statement.
It said the east African country’s economy would also be hurt by a decline in export demand, supply chain disruptions for domestic manufacturers and weak domestic consumption.
Meanwhile Tanzania announced plans to more than double cotton production in five years as farmers increase cultivation, encouraged by higher prices for the fiber, Minister of Agriculture Japhet Hasunga said.
Output for the 2020-21 season is expected to increase to 400,000 metric tons from 348,882 tons in 2019-20, he said in an emailed statement.
The government’s goal is “to boost production of cotton to 1 million metric tons by 2024-25,” he said.
Cotton is Tanzania’s fourth-biggest cash crop after cashews, tobacco and coffee, and fetched $68.4 million of export earnings in 2018.
Output in Tanzania peaked in the 2005-06 season at about 370,000 tons before falling to just under 133,000 tons in 2016-17.
© East Africa Daily and Agencies