Although the Exchange was incorporated in 1996, it only opened its doors in March 1998 and began its first day of trading in April 1998, attracting four trades in the only listed company on the bourse, Tanzania Oxygen Ltd. The Exchange’s total market capitalisation was reported to be 7.1 billion shillings (US$10.15 million) at the end of the day, making it one of the smallest stock exchanges in the world.

Foreign investors were initially barred from trading on the bourse. This limitation is expected to be lifted in October 2002.

The DSE is currently open for around half an hour every Wednesday morning, although this will probably change in the future as liquidity improves. Trading in shares and bonds occurs by open outcry.

Clearing occurs on a transaction by transaction basis; settlement is electronic (t+5) and there is an electronic depositary.

The development of this Exchange has been hampered by the enforced lack of participation by foreign investors and by a local investor community which lacks significant surplus funds and is not yet fully convinced of the value of investing in the stock market.