The executive board of the International Monetary Fund has approved $567m in emergency aid for Tanzania to help it finance a COVID-19 vaccination campaign and meet the health and social costs of the pandemic, the IMF said in a statement.
Under its Rapid Credit Facility (RCF), Tanzania will receive $189m, while $378m will be disbursed under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI).
The COVID-19 outbreak and associated travel restrictions have led to the collapse of the tourism sector in the East African country, which had denied the existence of the pandemic under the late president, John Magufuli.
The new funding will allow Tanzanian officials to address “the urgent health, humanitarian, and economic costs” of the pandemic, the IMF said. It will also help Tanzanian officials mobilize additional support from development partners, it said. Tanzania plans to borrow almost 10.8 trillion shillings ($4.7bn), about half of which the authorities seek to raise from external sources.
The funding announcement follows talks between the IMF and Tanzania, with the government committing to resuming publishing data on the spread of COVID-19 in order to determine the outbreak’s severity and appropriate response. The authorities had stopped releasing the data after former President Magufuli downplayed the disease before his death.
While his successor has launched a nationwide vaccination campaign, the release of data is still inconsistent – the government last published COVID-19 statistics in July, when it reported 858 cases and 29 deaths.