Significant measures have been taken to liberalize the Tanzanian economy along market lines and encourage both foreign and domestic private investment. Beginning in 1986, the Government of Tanzania embarked on an adjustment program to dismantle socialist economic controls and encourage more active participation of the private sector in the economy. The program included a comprehensive package of policies which reduced the budget deficit and improved monetary control, substantially depreciated the overvalued exchange rate, liberalized the trade regime, removed most price controls, eased restrictions on the marketing of food crops, freed interest rates, and initiated a restructuring of the financial sector.
Current GDP per capita of Tanzania grew 59% in the Nineties.
As of October 2003, a new, 3-year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) was in negotiation. In June 2003, the Tanzanian Government successfully completed a previous three-year PRGF arrangement with the International Monetary Fund, the successor program to the ESAF. From 1996-1999, Tanzania had an ESAF agreement. Tanzania also embarked on a major restructuring of state-owned enterprises. The program has so far divested 335 out of some 425 parastatal entities. Overall, real economic growth has averaged about 4% a year, much better than the previous 20 years, but not enough to improve the lives of average Tanzanians. Also, the economy remains overwhelmingly donor-dependent. Moreover, Tanzania has an external debt of $7.9 billion. The servicing of this debt absorbs about 40% of total government expenditures. Tanzania has qualified for debt relief under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Debts worth over $6 billion were canceled following implementation of the Paris Club VII Agreement.
Tanzania's past record of political instability has discouraged foreign direct investment. Government steps to improve that climate include redrawing tax codes, floating the exchange rate, licensing foreign banks, and creating an investment promotion center to cut red tape. Tanzania has mineral resources and a largely untapped tourism sector, which might make it a viable market for foreign investment.
The stock market capitalisation of listed companies in Tanzania was valued at $588 million in 2005 by the World Bank.