Editor’s Note: April 05, 2019

Tanzania: closing for business?

Tanzanian authorities have charged a number of executives at South African telco Vodacom’s local unit, including its managing director, with alleged criminal activities that have deprived the government of up to $4.8m in revenue.

If true it’s bad news for Vodacom, the largest player in Tanzania’s telecoms sector with around 32% market share.

But there may be more to the story.

The arrests come amid growing concerns about Tanzania’s business environment, with the country’s president John Magufuli overseeing a crackdown on international companies.

This has been most pronounced in the mining sector, including a high profile tax dispute with Tanzania’s biggest gold miner Acacia. Fellow telco Bharti Airtel recently ceded a higher stake to the government in its local unit following accusations that the state had been cheated out of its fair share.

The government says it’s merely going after what its due, but the strong-arm tactics have put business on the back foot. 

According to the UN’s 2018 World Investment report FDI has been “held back” because of tax policy and mining royalty changes.

Anxiety about Magufuli’s erratic leadership is fueling perceptions that Tanzania, generally seen as one of Africa’s more stable and predictable markets, is becoming an inhospitable place for business.

This latest incident is unlikely to help.

From The Continent

Kenya’s anti-corruption body is said to be investigating more than 15 regional governors, and may arrest at least four of them within a month. This is part of a high profile anti-corruption drive under president Uhuru Kenyatta, which has seen a number of senior officials face graft charges. More: Bloomberg

Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar, the leader of a renegade faction in the North African country, on Thursday ordered his troops to advance on the capital Tripoli, home to the country’s UN-backed government. The move is a fresh blow to reconciliation efforts in the oil-rich country, which has been in a state of conflict since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi  in 2011. More: Al Jazeera

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The Global Perspective

Russia and Angola have signed agreements to cooperate in sectors including mining, oil and gas, and agriculture, during a visit to Moscow by president João Lourenço. This comes amid efforts by Russia to increase strategic and economic relations with African countries.  More: Anadolu Agency

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. government’s development finance institution, plans to double its investments in Africa to $12.4bn. This is part of an investment push by Washington, aimed at countering China’s influence in Africa. More: Bloomberg

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