Since the mid-1980s Tanzania has implemented a number of trade and fiscal policy reforms that were partly intended to encourage increased export activity by manufacturing firms. Macroeconomic data suggest that there has been little response. To understand this lack of response we need to increase our understanding of the features of manufacturing exporters in Tanzania. This paper is a first attempt, by presenting the findings from a survey of 83 firms. Large firms are more likely to export than other firms, and more large firms sustain their investments than smaller firms. We also find, independent of this relationship to size, that firms that sustain investment are more likely to export than those which do not sustain investment. One distinction between our findings and other studies is that parastatals, including firms with some government ownership, tend to be larger and are more likely to export and sustain investments than non-parastatals. Subscription by shareholders and personal savings are the two main sources of start-up capital, while company earnings are how most investments are financed. The findings are consistent with the view limited access to bank financing has been a major constraint to manufacturing, especially exporting.
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