Traders optimistic for growth prospects in intra-regional trade

TANZANIA’S businesses still have room to breathe in the trading with other African countries despite dropping in ranks by two positions, according to Stanbic Bank Africa Trade Barometer (SB ATB) report of 2023.

The SA ATB report released recently showed Tanzania’s overall position declined from fifth position to seventh by September last year, driven by a decline in its ranking in the constituent, the Stanbic Bank 3-year Quantitative Trade Barometer (SB QTB) from six to eight.

Additionally, the report also highlighted few barriers including high tariff and non-tariff costs, shortage of foreign currencies, infrastructure and limited access to credit to a larger extent affect the positive growth in cross-border trade.

SB ATB which was launched last year is intended to address the information vacuum of reliable in the continent trade data, supporting it and enabling the growth of intra-African trade.

Stanbic Tanzania Head of Business and Commercial Banking Mr Fredrick Max said 94 per cent of businesses expect their revenue to increase over the next year due to the perception that demands for their goods and services are poised to rise.

“Notable variables that have a positive impact on the country’s tradability attractiveness including the growth in the GDP and a relatively stable inflation rate have contributed to the positive macroeconomic conditions,” said Mr Max.

The report released last Thursday surveyed some 227 businesses in the country with 70 per cent being small businesses and based on seven thematic categories including access to finance, trade openness, macroeconomic stability, infrastructure, foreign trade, and governance and traders’ financial behaviour.

However, the study highlighted 51 per cent of the surveyed businesses identified power supply as a major obstacle inhibiting their ability to trade. In comparison, 44 per cent pointed to the country’s road infrastructure as a severe obstacle constraining their capacity.

Additionally, recent foreign currency shortages significantly affected cross-border trade as businesses poised to acquire necessary foreign currency to transact goods.

Lender’s economist, Mr Zainul Chandoo said that the country still holds positive factors including sustainable debt development, confidence in investors, power consumption, and the general emphasis on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) by the government.

“That is why even the perception of businesses in the country proves optimism towards the growth of the revenue,” said Mr Chandoo.

He said the lender is optimistic about creating a portable business environment to support their development including finding solutions to the existing issues.

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