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The Inadequacies of Fdi Determinants in Tanzania: Some Evidence.

By francismoshi Nov 18, 2008 4434 Words
The paper dwells on the inadequacies of foreign direct investment (FDI) determinants in Tanzania. Despite of the several efforts , such as the far-reaching reforms in the economy, done by Tanzania to increase FDI inflows in the country, the results are far from satisfactory. The author argues that the unsatisfactory FDI inflows into Tanzania is caused by, inter alia the inadequacy of FDI determinants in the country. The main conclusion is that Tanzania lacks the adequate FDI determinants that would attract a substantial FDI inflows into the country. This makes it necessary for the country to make sure that the determinants are available in adequate amount if it is to receive more of the badly needed FDI inflows in a substantial amount.

FDI determinants characterize a country as either a good investment location (if the determinants are present in the country in adequate amount) or otherwise if the opposite is the case.
Tanzania like many other countries desires to have more FDI inflows due to the potential roles of such investments like employment creation, government revenue, efficiency, closing the investment gap and linkages effects with the rest of the economy, to mention but a few .( See for example Dunning (1994) and Buckleg and Clegg (1991) on more benefits of FDI) . Tanzania has not performed very well in as far FDI inflows into the country are concerned. Of the seven recent FDI front runners in Africa, Tanzania is not one of them. The front runners have attracted rapidly increasing FDI inflows, reaching absolute levels never reached before and comparable to those of other well performing developing economies. Front runners performed well in at least one of the following criteria: annual inflows of FDI; FDI inflows per 1000USD GDP; ration of FDI inflows to gross fixed capital formation; or FDI inflows per capita.

In the period 1993 – 1997, twelve (12) African countries received more FDI inflows than Tanzania. The countries and the FDI inflows in annual average in millions of USD in brackets are; Nigeria (1503), Egypt (775), South Africa (755), Morocco (562), Tunisia (367), Angola (254), Algeria (203), Cote d’ Ivoire (182), Ghana (133), Uganda (112), Namibia (110), Equatorial Guinea (109). Tanzania received FDI inflows to the tune of 100 million USD annually.(Source: UNCTAD 1999b :53)

In terms of FDI inflows as a percentage of gross fixed capital formation for the period 1991-1997, fifteen (15) African countries performed better than Tanzania. The figure for Tanzania was 6.4% compared to Angola (50.6%), Chad (14.9%), Djibouti (9.9%), Equatorial Guinea (226.7%) and The Gambia (16.1%). (For figures for other countries see UNCTAD ; 1999b : 58 –59).

FDI in the context of Tanzania refers to the flows of capital and personnel from abroad for investment in the country. The ownership of such a capital can be either by a natural person or an institution such as a company registered outside the country. The shares owned by such a person or an institution should be fifty percent of the total investment or more.

Efforts in the past have been made by the Tanzanian government to attract more investments from abroad. The early intention of the government was shown in 1963 when the Foreign Investment Act was passed in order to persuade FDI in the early years of independent Tanganyika . (Green, 1982). Such efforts were somewhat unsuccessful since the government opted for a socialist path of economic development. This policy option lead to the implementation of the political manifesto called the Arusha Declaration in 1967. The Ministerial Order under the Industrial (Acquisition) Act Number 5 of 1967 required all Multination Enterprises (MNEs) operating in Tanzania as well as big private businesses owned by Tanzanians in Mainland Tanzania to make the government of Tanzania the main shareholder of such companies. Hence, from 1967 to 1972 the majority of the MNEs operating since independence were nationalized. In addition to that big locally owned enterprises were also subjected to nationalization. The Public Corporation Act Number 17 of 1969 was created in order to own all nationalized companies under the government control and management.

There were minimal FDI activities taking place in Tanzania between 1970 and 1985. The majority of the investments in the country were done by the State either directly or indirectly. By 1980 there were over 400 public owned corporations and companies. The majority of these companies and public institutions were owned by the Tanzanian government with 100 percent shares. Some of them were owned by the government owning shares between 49 to 100 percent. The remaining shares were bought by investors abroad. These companies were those which needed some expert personnel and large capital investment particularly the equipment. The Tanzania-Italian Petroleum Refinery (TIPER), Aluminium Africa, Shell and British Petroleum (BP) are examples of companies in which the Tanzanian government bought some shares.

The rival of FDI attraction came in 1985 when Tanzania realized that she cannot cope with the ailing and ill-managed public enterprises and companies. The deliberate economic liberalization policies started to be established and implemented. Financial institutions reforms, public sector reforms, civil service reforms and investment promotion initiatives were examples of efforts made to fine tune the attraction of FDI in the country. The culmination of all these changes was the law passed in 1997 in order to promote local and foreign investment in the country.

The paper centres on the identification of the inadequacies of FDI determinants in Tanzania. The main analysis starts from 1991 to date. In February 1990 the Tanzanian government had a deliberate policy option to fine tune the policy of ujamaa and self reliance. The deliberation took place in Zanzibar, hence, the Zanzibar Resolution of 1990. Despite the immense efforts by the government to attract FDI in the country the results are far from satisfactory. There are still some policy, administrative, economic, infrastructural and services bottlenecks prevailing in Tanzania to prohibit the inflow of FDI.

3.FDI Determinants.
FDI determinants are the factors that give the investors the confidence to commit their usually massive , expensive and scarce resources in a given foreign location. For a firm to invest in a foreign location , the location must have some adequate amount of these determinants. While it seems impossible to specify the exact quantity and/or quality of the determinants (to the extent these are quantitative/qualitative) that must be present in location for FDIs to start flowing there, it is a fact that a certain critical minimum of the determinants must be in place. FDI determinants can be internal or external. Internal determinants depend on the situations in the country trying to attract FDIs. External determinants depend much on the investor. Among the internal FDI determinants (which are my focus in this context) include some broad policy framework for FDI such as economic, political and social stability, privatization process, tax policy, international agreements on FDI; some economic issues like business facilitation efforts by host economies; and markets , resources and efficiency availability. (For a detailed review of FDI determinants see Ngowi ; 2000 at: - look at paper four).

4.Some Evidence of the Inadequacies of FDI Determinants in Tanzania.

In what follows an attempt is made to provide some pieces of evidence that indicate that there are some inadequacies in as far as FDI determinants in Tanzania are concerned. The pieces of evidence provided in this work, needless to say, are far from exhaustive.

Now that it is very difficulty to specify the exact amount of the FDI determinants that are required to be present a given location, the inadequacies in Tanzania will be seen by trying to compare some of the FDI determinants in Tanzania with those of some other countries. This does not mean however that this is a comparative study. At this juncture it should be mentioned that given the current wave of globalization of the world economy, territorial boundaries are diminishing in importance as far as investment locations are concerned. Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) can virtually invest anywhere in the world today. Therefore Tanzania competes with, potentially, the whole world for the inflow of the much desired FDIs. Only the locations that have a well balanced portfolio of FDI determinants are likely to attract a substantial number of FDIs. This section draws much , but not exclusively, from the Tanzania Investor Roadmap 1999. Among the areas in which one can observe the inadequacies of FDI determinants in Tanzania is in the process of employment of foreigners in the country. The country grants automatically work permits (class B permits) for five expatriates employees for every FDI project. This quota system is however arbitrary. Fixing a rigid number is a blunt mechanism for enabling companies to hire the workers that they need. In the National Employment Promotion Services Bill, 1999 presented in the National Assembly in April 1999, the government was to start regulating the hiring of foreigners in the country to make sure that they are not employed at the expense of available qualified nationals. This may be good for Tanzanians but it may negatively affect FDI inflows into the country. As opposed to such countries as Ghana, Namibia and Uganda, Tanzania requires travel visas from foreign business and holiday travelers. This may hamper international business and is a potential hindrance of FDI inflows as it complicates doing business in the country. Some inadequacies in FDI determinants relate to Tanzania labour. The country lacks enough people who adequately understand management and business concepts. The legal infrastructure governing labour is out of date (many key labour laws were made in 1960s) and inadequate to regulate a modern market-oriented economy. Many workers in parastatals and government agencies are resistant to increased private participation in the economy for fear of being terminated or having to work under new rules and norms. The cost of employee benefits and retrenchment packages in Tanzania are not in line with those of other developing countries. Fringe benefits ratio in Tanzania is approximately 45%, as compared to 25-35% which is typical in most developing countries. Higher wages are substituting provision of rent and transport allowances globally, but not yet in Tanzania. Tanzania has 28 annual leave days compared to 5-15 days in many developing countries. Tanzania has 14 public holidays, compared to Uganda and Namibia (12 days), Ghana (11 days) and United States (10 days). The various benefits raise the costs of hiring and retaining workers. This is not desired by firms in these ages of fierce competition where cost is among the very important factor for competitiveness. FDIs that look for low labour costs among others, are likely to be scared away from Tanzania in favour of the more competitive countries, ceteris paribus. Another area in which the inadequacies can be easily seen is in the various processes of locating a business in Tanzania. Most serious start-up delays faced by investors in Tanzania occurs within the land acquisition and site development stage. Land acquisition process in the country takes between three months to six years, as compared to six to twelve months in South Africa, two months to two years in Chile, three months in Malaysia, two to six months in Jordan and six months to two years in Morocco. Approval for site development in Tanzania takes eight months compared to one month in South Africa, two in Chile, three to six weeks in Malaysia, three to four and a half months in Jordan and three to six months in Morocco. Utility connections in Tanzania takes a relatively longer time than in some other countries. For example, telephone connections take one to three months in Tanzania, one to seven days in South Africa, less than twenty four hours in Chile, one to three weeks in Hungary and one day in Morocco. On top of the length of time used to get utilities hooked, there is lack of competition in the supply side, high connection fees, sporadic-supply (in case of electricity, for example), lack of customer oriented focus, inaccurate and untimely billing and records keeping procedure and poor levels of service . Tanzania has an infant private real estate market. There is no serviced industrial estate that offers ready to occupy buildings. Most investors therefore, have to go through the lengthy process of identifying land, obtaining title, undertaking construction and connecting utilities before operations can start. The process is typically bureaucratic, full of procedural complexities, less transparence and consistence, and much rent seeking behaviour on individuals in positions of power. It is not a clear-cut process. Investors in Tanzania encounter major uncertainty in environmental regulation. The process of reviewing environmental projects is not fully developed. It is unclear how effectively the government will calibrate its environmental requirements to meet the needs of a specific business activity, project or ecosystem. This creates additional risks to them. The inadequacies can also be observed in the process of acquiring the general sectoral approvals, permits and licenses required of most business in the country. Among the shortfalls in this area is the requirement that all business names be registered in Dar-es-salaam. The requirement imposes much costs in time and pecuniary terms on firms not located in Dar-es-salaam. It is also a shortfall that the Tanzania private sector remains over-regulated and numerous agencies issue licenses and permits. The annual renewal period (for licenses) is unnecessary bottleneck to investors. The Tanzanian tax system is a major concern for investors. Although income taxes have been simplified and lowered in recent years, the overall tax burden in Tanzania remains one of the highest in the region. Among other places, the concern was raised at a conference for Employers’ Organizations, early February 1999 in Dar es Salaam with the theme “ Globalization, Competitiveness and Regional Integration : With Special Focus on SADC, EAST, COMESA and SACU”. Analysts argued that Tanzania stands to lose in any inter-state grouping due to its highly uncompetitive taxation system compared to those of her neighbours. Under a zero tariff system, Tanzania is not likely to be able to compete with Uganda and Kenya which have a 17% and 16% Value Added Tax (VAT), compared with 20% in Tanzania. The provisional tax system in Tanzania makes unrealistic assumptions that cause cost pressure on businesses at their early phases, hence discouraging new ones. For example, it is assumed that businesses become profitable as soon as they begin operations. This is unrealistic for long-term investments such as manufacturing operations . The assumption that businesses constantly increase profits is unrealistic too. The system makes it impossible for firms to pay less tax even if they take in less revenue in a subsequent year. This represent risk and constraint to investors. The requirement that businesses pay estimated corporate taxes in advance and VAT on their sales monthly is hard on the cash flow of firms and is therefore likely to scare away investors.

If a company overpays tax in the provisional tax system, it does not receive a refund. Rather a credit towards future tax liabilities is issued, which is less attractive. Another problem in the taxation system is that withholding taxes are numerous and high by international standards and they constrain investments in Tanzania. The number of tax fillings extracts much revenue and require a great amount of time to complete. Tanzania has a total of 55 national taxes compared to 7 in Zambia, 4 in Chile, 6 in Malaysia, 4 in South Africa and 25 in Morocco.

Another area in which the FDI determinants are in shortfall is in the operations of businesses. Operation in this context includes import/export procedures, acquiring foreign exchange and repatriating profits.

There are several steps (more than 20) involved in importing goods (clearing through the Customs) to Tanzania. The process is long, inefficient , corrupt and bureaucratic .There are eight organizations involved in clearing imported goods (see Tanzania Investor Roadmap 1999 for details) . The import process in Tanzania takes about 4 to 14 days. It takes 2 to 4 days in Mauritius, 1 to 4 days in Zambia, 2 to 3 hours in Malaysia, 1 hour in Hungary and 2 to 48 hours in Chile.

A generally hostile internal environment for production in Tanzania, does not do any good to the country as it results to industrial woes and may hamper FDI inflows. For example, out of the 21 members of the Common Market for Eastern an Southern Africa (COMESA), it is Tanzania alone , ( per April 1999) which charges import duties on raw materials. The country has also very high electricity tariffs and has been fearing the establishment of a Free Trade Area as advocated by COMESA and East African Community. Other industrial production requirements in Tanzania such as infrastructure and communication are in bad shape and do mitigate against Tanzania’s competitive chances as a production location both for foreign and domestic firms.

Some practices in the privatization process in Tanzania have been mentioned as contributing to the inadequacies of FDI determinants in the country. The World Bank and major donor countries, in Consultative Group meeting in Paris in May 1999, argued that there was a growing ministerial interference in the privatization process. The ministries are argued to seek to by-pass the Parastatal Sector Reform Commission (PSRC) in negotiating private entry into a number of strategic sectors. The interference is likely to lead into a non transparent and closed process which may result to a non level playing field for firms (mostly foreign) interested in and capable of acquiring the state’s firms being privatized. The meeting mentioned that it is widely suspected that high level corruption is involved in the privatization exercise and elsewhere in the country.(The italics are my own addition, drawing from among other places, the famous Warioba Commission’s report on corruption in Tanzania). If the interference lead to privatization and commercialization to be abandoned in several cases, it would undermine investors’ confidence and good will among donors. The regulatory framework in Tanzania was described as notorious, time wasting and least transparent that is not conducive to attracting investors. The excessive regulations impose extremely high opportunity cost in time and pecuniary terms and discourage new investments. According to World Bank’s World Development Indicators 1999 report, Tanzania lies behind many African countries in the spread and use of Information Technology (IT). Very few Tanzanians have access to computers and a negligible number have exploited avenues of the internal network (Internet). Only two out of every thousand Tanzanians have access to a personal computer (PC), compared to say, South Africa’s 42 and Kenya’s 2.3. Among the African countries mentioned by UNCTAD (2000: 79) as showing strong interest in adoption of electronic commerce (e-commerce) , Tanzania is not one of them. The countries are the better developed economies of Botswana, Egypt, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa, Tunisia and Zimbabwe. In the East African region, Tanzania has the highest import duty on PC and other IT accessories. Import duty on a computer in Tanzania is 20% of its value. On top of this comes the country’s Value Added Tax (VAT) to the tune of 20%. Uganda charges a 15% duty and in Kenya it is even lower. This is among the reasons that make many people unable to afford the equipments thereby denying them access to cyberspace and hence the ability to explore the opportunities of the information superhighway in the unfolding era of science and technology. An increased digital divide between Tanzania and other countries is likely to direct more FDIs in those other countries which are better equipped with what it takes to be competitive in this age of science and technology .

When it comes to membership in international agreements and institutions concerning FDI , as of 1st January 1999, Tanzania was not a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The country joined the Convention establishing the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency in 1992. (Most other African countries joined in late 1980s and early 1990s too). Tanzania did not get accession to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and to the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of other States before 1992. Most of other African countries ( 19out of 26) joined the former Convention in the 1960s and 1970s. For the latter Convention, most African countries (39 out of 42) joined also in 1960s and 1970s. Egypt and Morocco got accession to the former Convention as early as 1959. (For details of years of accession of different countries to different agreements see UNCTAD ,1999b : 8-9). It can therefore be seen that Tanzania has been late to make moves to join these important agreements for FDI inflows.

Tanzania had concluded only four (4) bilateral investment treaties with both the developing and developed countries as of 1st January 1999. Some other African countries had concluded many more treaties. For example Egypt (58 treaties), Tunisia (42), Morocco (31), South Africa (17), Senegal (15), Algeria (10), Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Mauritius, and Zimbabwe (9 treaties each). Some eleven (11) African countries had concluded between nine (9) and five (5) treaties each. It is clearly evident that many African countries concluded many treaties on bilateral investments than Tanzania. It is surprising that the country did not conclude any treat with two of the Triad (United States and Japan), which are the major sources of global FDI flows (out- and inflows). It concluded a single treat with the third member of the Triad, United Kingdom and a single treat too with Germany.(See UNCTAD , 1999b : pp48-49 for details on treaties between different countries).

Tanzania had concluded only nine (9) double taxation treaties on the global basis as of 1st January 1999. This can be compared with the following number of treaties concluded by some other African countries; South Africa (47 treaties), Mauritius (29), Egypt (27), Tunisia (26), Zambia (19), Morocco (18). Some four (4) other African countries had concluded between ten (10) and thirteen (13) treaties each as of the same date. Tanzania therefore has not “scored” much on this important FDI determinant.(Source: UNCTAD, 1999b: 50-51).

Another shortfall is the general protest from some Tanzanians against the current privatization process . No where this is better evidenced and articulated than in the opening speech by the Tanzanian president at the Tanzania ambassadors’ conference , (which emphasized on the new roles of ambassadors in promoting FDI into Tanzania) at White Sand Hotel, Dar es salaam, 19th April 1999. Among other things, the president mentioned that “…another contrived (as opposed to real) obstacle is on foreign ownership of the privatized companies. We are accused of externalizing the economy, and of selling the family silver…”. (The italics are my own addition). For FDIs to flow into a location, general support, understanding and acceptance ,by the overwhelming majority of the local population, of the FDIs is important .

5.Conclusion and recommendation for further research.

The above inadequacies can make some investors look elsewhere as destinations for their investments. Many regulations and procedures significantly increase the cost of conducting business in Tanzania. This makes investing there less competitive than in some other locations. Corruption, inadequate infrastructure, key skill deficits in the labour pool, inflation, limited domestic credit, legal inadequacies, too much state monopoly, conflicting and confusing regulations and high production costs negatively affect investors’ assessment of Tanzania as an investment destination. The government and other authorities and individuals with genuine vested interest in the development of this poor country should do as much as they can to make the country a safer, more lucrative and attractive destination of both local and foreign direct investments. Before its house is put in order by addressing most of the inadequacies mentioned in this work and others , it can be very difficulty for the country to increase FDI inflows in any substantial amount. Among the recommendations for possible further research in this area includes a recommendation to investigate on what and how a country like Tanzania should do so as to increase the quantity and quality of its FDI determinants, thereby reducing the inadequacies and increasing its possibility to attract more of the badly needed FDI inflows.


Africa South of the Sahara 1999; 28th Edition, European Publishing Limited, London 1999. Bjorvatn, K. 1999. Infrastructure and Industrial Location in LDCs; Discussion Paper 11/99 April 1999, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration. Black (1997), Oxford Dictionary of Economics

Buckley, P.J. and Clegg, J. (1991), Multinational Enterprises in Less Developed Countries, BC, Ltd, Brigand Britain.
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