In May 2017, Tanzania’s President John Magufuli declared ‘economic warfare’ on foreign mining companies, which he accused of draining the country’s mineral wealth. Magufuli’s attempt to exercise greater control over extractive industries culminated in the passing of three pieces of legislation in July 2017. Combined, the new acts aim to regain the loss of the country’s sovereignty over its resources, first and foremost by opening the renegotiation of existing contracts and removing firms’ access to international arbitration. Such actions have renewed the debate on resource nationalism, with some political commentators referring to ‘a new resource nationalism’, supposedly marking a break with the previous administration. By analysing changes in extractive governance in recent years, this article argues that, whereas some new features related to the current President’s personality and populist style may explain some of the new nationalism, the continuities from previous administration are more pronounced. This can be seen in the repeated calls for a tougher fiscal take, involvement of state-owned enterprises and presidents’ direct involvement in deal-making, all of which were already well underway under the previous administration. More likely, the recent legislation reflects a broader shift of thinking in the ruling party, spurred by increasingly competitive elections since 2010.
Jacob, T., & Pedersen, R. H. (2018). New resource nationalism? Continuity and change in Tanzania’s extractive industries. The Extractive Industries and Society, 5(2), 287-292. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2018.02.001