The East African nation of Tanzania is beginning to enact a plan proposed in 2017 to finally establish central bank gold reserves.

President John Magufuli first proposed the move almost three years ago, with the aim of utilising the country’s gold production – the fourth highest in Africa – to achieve the goal. Then a year ago he initiated the process at a ceremony in the Tanzanian capital of Dar es Salaam.

President Magufuli told the crowd at the time: “We should start buying gold, the central bank must invest in this. We must have our reserves in dollars but also our reserves in gold, because gold is money”.

This week the Governor of the Bank of Tanzania, Florens Luoga, has confirmed that the plans have been drawn up and finalised by the BoT, and that the final piece of the puzzle is an increase in domestic production to cope with both exports and government purchases.

Speaking at a press conference in the capital, Luoga said: “The central bank will start to buy gold for its reserve as soon as the gold is refined by 99.9 percent locally”.

Tanzania produces approximately 50 tonnes of gold per year and is keen to remain an exporter of gold; rather than import what it deems to be a costly material. With the gold locally sourced the government believes it can achieve a double whammy of providing additional jobs in the gold industry, as well as maintaining better quality control.

The country already has a strong reputation for mining, with over 50% of total exports being mineral or ore-based. Gold and diamonds are a valuable export, but so too are titanium, platinum, and uranium.