The Tanzanian government has focused in recent years on reorganizing and restructuring its economic institutions. Progress has been encouraging and private sector investors are increasingly interested in mining, transport, tourist, and fishing sector opportunities.
The fourth five-year development plan (1981–86) was not fully carried out because of Tanzania's economic crisis. Among the projects implemented were an industrial complex, a pulp and paper project, a machine-tool plant, a phosphate plant, and the development of natural gas deposits. The Economic and Social Action Plan of 1990 scaled back the government's ambitions and sought to continue moderate growth in the economy, improve foreign trade, and alleviate some of the social costs of economic reform. Development planning is now conducted on an annual basis, with recent development priorities set in the areas of transport infrastructure, health, and education.
In 2000, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a three-year $181.5 million Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) Arrangement for Tanzania (it expired in June 2003). With the inception of this program, gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaged more than 5%, while inflation declined to below 5%. The servicing of Tanzania's over $8 billion external debt absorbs around 40% of total government expenditures. In 2001, Tanzania became eligible for $3 billion in debt service relief under the IMF/World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. The government has taken steps to attract foreign investment, including revamping tax codes, floating the exchange rate, licensing foreign banks, and creating an investment promotion center to trim bureaucratic red tape. Poverty remains pervasive, however, and is the main target for economic development.