by Ben Taylor

President Samia greets former president Jakaya Kikwete and Sierra Leone’s Ernest Bai Koroma (L) – photo State House

Power games within CCM continue as 2025 approaches
It has long been the case in Tanzanian politics that power struggles within the ruling party, CCM, have had more significance than disputes that pit CCM against opposition parties. Such has been the dominance of CCM that manoeuvres to seize and maintain control of the party are where the real focus of the country’s politics lies.

This is where the pre-2015 struggle between former prime minister, Edward Lowassa, and Bernard Membe primarily played out, though both ended up running for President for opposition parties after party elders brought forward John Magufuli as something of a compromise candidate.

The significance of that choice only became clear well into President Magufuli’s term in office as President. And it continues to cause repercussions to this day, with his Vice President, the current President Samia Suluhu Hassan working hard to maintain her control of a party that remains filled with divisions over matters of policy, personality and power.

Having never truly been chosen for the role by either party members or the national electorate, President Samia’s starting point was weaker than previous new party leaders. She is also dealing with the aftermath of the divisive presidency of her predecessor, who was extremely popular with many – both in the party and the wider country – for taking on corruption and “neo-colonialist” investors, and yet also drew extensive criticism for his approach, variously described by critics as “draconian”, “populist”, “anti-democratic”, and “economically illiterate”.

There are those within the party – including some at high levels – for whom a continuation of Magufuli’s style is the best way forward for some combination of the party, the country and their own interests. And there are others – again including some at high levels – who would prefer to see a return to the business-friendly (and perhaps corruption-friendly) approach of Presidents Mkapa and Kikwete.

The challenge President Samia faces is to consolidate her position as party chair, ensure she faces no serious opposition within the party for nomination as the CCM presidential candidate in 2025, while keeping the various party factions happy as they wait to pounce either on any weakness she may show between now and 2025, or, failing that, in the lead-up to 2030 when President Samia will not be eligible for another term.

Many of President Samia’s early moves as President were to gradually roll-back the most egregious anti-democratic measures introduced by President Magufuli – such as restrictions on the media and on opposition party gatherings. The pace of this change has noticeably slowed in recent months, however.
In the previous issue of TA (No. 136), it was reported how her response to criticisms of the involvement of DP World in managing the port in Dar es Salaam showed some Magufuli-like instincts, clamping down hard on critics (See below for an update on that situation).

More recently, she has appointed a key ally of President Magufuli, Paul Makonda, to the influential position of CCM’s Secretary of Ideology and Politics Publicity – a position that represents the party to the public as much as any other besides the President.

Some observers see Makonda’s appointment as a means to gain confidence among party members who were big supporters of the former President, including those from his stronghold in the north­west of the country. Others have pointed out that the appointment contradicts the reformist and reconciliatory ideals that the President has been claiming since she assumed the presidency in March 2021. Tundu Lissu, CHADEMA’s deputy national chairperson (Tanzania Mainland), has described Makonda’s appointment as a sign of the “coming dark and painful days of politicking.”

Further, in November 2023, the CCM Secretary-General, Daniel Chongolo, requested to step down after being “defamed” online, amid allegations of sexual impropriety. The specifics of the case are unclear, but some have argued that he had been targeted by others in the party who were keen to remove him from his position.

[STOP PRESS: Shortly before going to press, it was announced that the new Secretary General of CCM will be Emmanuel Nchimbi. Mr Nchimbi is a former Minister of Home Affairs (2012-2013) and more recently has been Tanzania’s Ambassador to Brazil between 2016 and 2021 and Egypt since 2022.]

In this context, it is worth reflecting on the words of former President Jakaya Kikwete at CCM’s national congress meeting in December, 2022. His words are outwardly reassuring, but also bear an implicit warning: “Don’t listen to people’s rumours that there is this young man who will run, or this old man will run. It’s pure nonsense,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m stopping them, but I don’t see any member of CCM who will take the form to oppose you in 2025. Maybe if things become too much worse between now and then. But I don’t believe that will happen, and it’s not our tradition.”

New election legislation presented to Parliament
A collection of bills were presented to Parliament for their first reading late in 2023, with a view to introducing some changes to how elections are run. Specifically, this includes a new Elections Bill, which is set to replace the Elections Act of 1985 and the Local Government Elections Act of 1979; a National Electoral Commission Bill, establishing the basis on which the commission should be governed; and a bill proposing amendments to the Election Expenses Act, Political Parties Act.

As soon as the bills became public, they created some controversy, largely for not including various provisions that had been expected. Indeed, the majority of what is included in the bills is minor: making small clarifications and corrections to existing laws, or consolidating them, and/or part of the country’s gradual shift from the use of English to Swahili in its legislation.

Critics of the new laws pointed out, however, that there is nothing to substantively change the independence – or lack of independence – of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) or the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP), which had been widely called for. Nor is anything proposed that would allow for independent candidates. And nor do the proposals address the long-recognised problem of local government employees, dependent on senior ruling party politicians for their career prospects, taking the role of local election coordinators (returning officers). It has been widely reported that in 2020 the then President John Magufuli said he would have serious questions for any council director who received vehicles, housing and their salary from the President and yet went on to announce an opposition candidate as the victor.

There are legal concerns as well. The use of local government employees and the constitutional block on independent candidates have both been determined by the African Court of Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) to represent a denial of citizens’ rights. The court has directed the government to take appropriate steps to change the law and/or the constitution.

Earlier, a meeting convened in August 2023 by the Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD), an organisation whose members are Tanzania’s political parties, including CCM, had concluded that it was too late to introduce major changes to the national Constitution before the elections in 2025. Instead, they had recommended some minor changes that would include provisions to establish a truly independent electoral commission and to allow for independent candidates.

The new bills strongly suggest that the government has no plans to introduce the changes either as recommended by the TCD or as directed by the African Court.

The Catholic Bishops Conference was among those concerned by the lack of changes in the proposed new laws. The bishops pointed out that relying on public servants as returning officers is discriminatory and unconstitutional, and also recommended for an independent body to appoint members of the electoral commission instead of the President, and proposed a separate budget for the national election.

Dr. Anna Henga, Executive Director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre, and NGO, proposed that “the commission should be given the power to hire its own staff at ward, district, regional, and national levels,” rather than relying on local government employees.

Speaking on behalf of CCM, the party’s new Secretary of Ideology and Publicity, Paul Makonda, came out in defence of the proposed laws. He said that the exercise has largely considered recommendations from stakeholders. It was unfortunate, he added, that criticisms of the bills were coming from those, such as Chadema party chairperson Freeman Mbowe and his party, who had been major beneficiaries of the ongoing political reconciliation under President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

Government proceeds with DP World port deal despite controversy
President Samia Suluhu Hassan in October 2023 witnessed the signing of three investment and operation contracts with the Dubai-based logistics company DP World, having decided to proceed with the controversial partnership despite heavy criticism.

The ceremony occurred at Chamwino State House in Dodoma after lawmakers approved the controversial Tanzania-Dubai intergovernmental agreement that would see DP World take over some operations at the Dar es Salaam port.

The government has hailed the deal as a “game-changer,” arguing that it will help Tanzania achieve its ambitions of becoming a major regional logistical hub. However, critics including thirty-seven Catholic Bishops argue that the benefits are exaggerated, with some saying that the deal is effectively “selling off” the country. Public debate around the issue had become highly politicised, including heavy-handed policing of critics (see previous issue of TA).

The signed contracts include the Host Government Agreement (HGA), the lease and operation of berths 4-7 and the joint operation of berths 0-3 between Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) and DP World for commercial and governmental activities. Few details of the contracts have been publicly released.

After witnessing the signing of the contracts, President Samia said the government had considered proposals shared by stakeholders on the intergovernmental agreement, which include the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS), political parties, civil societies, activists and the press. “We listened to our religious leaders, and even our former leaders,” the Head of State noted. “I can confidently say that there is no group or voice that was ignored.”

She explained that the government had appointed a team of experts, which also included politicians and lawyers, who went through all the comments made regarding the deal, which ultimately advised which should be considered and which were baseless and could be ignored.

“This task was superbly done and contributed immensely to the negotiating team,” President Samia said.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, TPA Director General Plasduce Mbossa said the contract between the government and DP World will last 30 years, and DP World’s performance will be evaluated every five years.

This at least partly answers one of the biggest criticisms of the original agreement with DP World – that it had no end-date and might thus commit Tanzania to partnership with the firm beyond the country’s best interests.

“After signing these agreements, the government will be able to keep more than 60 per cent of all revenue as all operating costs will be borne by DP World,” Mr Mbossa said. He explained that custom duties collected by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) will be based on the number of serviced ships, leading to a significant increase in revenue as more ships will be serviced. “We expect that revenue collected by TRA at the port will increase from the current TSh7.8 trillion in 2021/22 to TSh26 trillion by 2032,” Mr Mbossa explained (from GBP £2.4bn to £8bn.)

He pointed out that the contracts do not involve all port operations in Dar es Salaam or all other Tanzanian ports, revealing that TPA has already begun finding an operator for berths 8-11, and that security at the port would remain the government’s responsibility.

The chairman and chief executive of DP World, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, described the signing of the three contracts as a “significant step” in his company’s commitment to Tanzania. “Over the next five years,” he said, “DP World will invest in excess of US$250 million to upgrade the port.”

“We’ll strengthen the port’s role as a maritime gateway for the copper belt and other important green energy mineral territories,” he added. “We’ll also do this with a multi-phase plan that will also focus on improving transport and logistic services throughout Tanzania and into the hinterland.”


by Ben Taylor

Joseph Moses Oleshangay – photo Mahsa Nejadfallah www.stadt.weimar.de

Joseph Moses Oleshangay, a Tanzanian lawyer and activist campaigning for the rights of the Maasai people, has been awarded the 2023 Weimar Human Rights Prize. In accepting the award, he vowed to continue the fight, describing the award as a recognition for his work. Mr Oleshangay is an Arusha-based lawyer with the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), a leading human rights organisation in the country.

The Wiemar prize is awarded annually to people, groups or organisations committed to protecting and enforcing fundamental human rights worldwide. It is presented on December 10 yearly to coincide with the United Nations’ International Human Rights Day.

The prize recognises Mr Oleshangay’s fight to protect the fundamental rights of his Maasai people in Ngorongoro and Loliondo, where authorities have been trying to “relocate” them to other parts of the country.

Authorities say the human population in the areas has unprecedently shot up, putting both the lives of human beings and wildlife in jeopardy.
Despite calls for the government to stop its controversial exercise, the work has continued and the authorities are determined to “relocate” as many people as possible from Ngorongoro to designated areas of Msomera, Saunyi and Kitwai. Chief Government’s Spokesperson Mobhare Matinyi said in December that more houses are being constructed in the designated villages to receive more people expected to relocate from Ngorongoro.

“With all the challenges we have found ourselves in, I am still hopeful that though we do not know when this is going to end, I believe it’s going to crash one day,” said Oleshangay. “This repression will crash because it’s against the law, against human rights and known standards. It really defies logic in displacing thousands of people and replacing them with businesses like hotels.”

“It can’t be tolerated that 10,000 people get expelled from their lands,” said Michael Brand, a German politician who spoke at the award ceremony. He described Oleshangay as a “defender of human rights” with “impressive civility, experience and spirit.”


by Ben Taylor

Floods in Hanang

Deadly floods and landslides in Katesh
Early December 2023 saw extreme weather northern Tanzania that caused devastation in the small town of Katesh, in Hanang District, Manyara Region [see cover]. Heavy rains across the region had their worst impacts in Katesh and the nearby village of Gendabi, where a total 87 people were killed by floods and landslides. Around 100 more were injured, while homes, vehicles, livestock and agricultural land sustained extensive damage. An estimated 5,600 people have been left homeless.

Rescue efforts were coordinated by the government National Disaster Management Committee (NDMC) with the assistance of the military. Roads, bridges and communications infrastructure had also been badly damaged, hampering the work. A school in Katesh was used as an emergency refuge centre.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan cut short her attendance at the COP28 climate change conference in Dubai in order to visit the area. She described the disaster as “a wake-up call for the government to take the necessary measures to detect the signs and alert people in advance to avoid serious consequences like these.” She also expressed her dismay over people who continue to live in the flood prone lowlands and river valleys, especially in towns and cities.

President Hassan said new houses costing between TSh25 million to TSh30 million each would be constructed for the flood victims who lost their homes. “They will be resettled in entirely new areas and assisted to have their children back to school. These people lost everything including livestock and food stocks,” she said.

East Africa has been hit for weeks by torrential rains and floods linked to the El Niño weather phenomenon. Typically associated with rising temperatures, droughts in some parts of the world, and heavy rains in others, El Niño effects are expected to last until around April.

The disaster – and similar incidents elsewhere in East Africa – brought back memories of the rains and floods of 1997-1998, also an El Niño year, which left over 6,000 people dead across the region.

In this more recent case, the floods followed the worst drought in four decades. Scientists say extreme weather events such as flooding, storms, droughts and wildfires are being made longer, more intense and more frequent by human-induced climate change. (Al Jazeera, The Guardian, VoA, The Citizen)


by Ben Taylor

German President expresses shame over colonial atrocities
The German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has expressed “shame” for the colonial atrocities his country inflicted on Tanzania.

German forces killed around 300,000 people during the Maji Maji rebellion in the early 1900s, one of the bloodiest anti-colonial uprisings.

“I would like to ask for forgiveness for what Germans did to your ancestors here,” he said, speaking at a museum in Songea. “What happened here is our shared history, the history of your ancestors and the history of our ancestors in Germany.”

President Steinmeier said he hoped the two countries could together work towards “communal processing” of the past. He promised those present that he would “take their stories with me to Germany, so that more people in my country will know about them.”

Professor Jürgen Zimmerer of the University of Hamburg said that Germany has, until recently, had “colonial amnesia” around the brutality and racism of their former empire.

As part of the three-day visit, the president met the descendants of one of the Maji Maji leaders, Chief Songea Mbano, who was among those executed in 1906. President Steinmeier told the family the German authorities would try to find his remains. Thousands of human remains were brought from German colonies – partly as “trophies” but also for racist research.

In a separate development, researchers in Berlin have successfully identified living relatives of people whose remains were stolen from Tanzania and taken to Germany for “scientific” experiments during the colonial era.

The Museum of Prehistory and Early History in Berlin has been carrying out research for several years on around 1,100 skulls taken from what was then known as German East Africa. In September the museum reported that DNA analysis had provided a clear link to living descendants in Tanzania, hailing the find as a “small miracle”.

“The relatives and the government of Tanzania will now be informed as soon as possible,” the museum said in a statement.


by Ben Taylor
Criminal syndicate at Barrick?
Acacia Mining, a subsidiary of Barrick Gold that operated the company’s gold mines in Tanzania up to 2019, lost as much as $31 million each year to a criminal syndicate operating at the North Mara gold mine, according to an internal report. The report was prepared in 2017 by a consulting firm, Europe Conflict and Security Consulting Ltd for a security contractor at Acacia Mining, and was recently cited in a court case underway at the High Court in London.

The report found that North Mara gold mine was “fully infiltrated” by at least one criminal syndicate that stole millions of dollars in fuel, equipment and high-grade gold-bearing rock, with the collusion of police, the report found. It warned further that there was widespread corruption, fraud and misappropriation in the mine’s contracts and land compensation payments.

The report estimated that criminal activities at North Mara “may easily exceed US$20 million annually” and could be as much as US$31 million. It pointed to the involvement of both Acacia staff and the criminal syndicate in all criminal activities surveyed, adding that “this indicates a significant level of collusion/infiltration.”

The syndicate at North Mara had “strong intelligence, operational and organisational capabilities,” the report said, including the ability to manipulate security-camera coverage, move large stolen items without detection, rapidly adjust exit routes when detected, and co-opt the police and security guards. As many as 30 per cent of the mine’s staff could be involved in the activities, with “local government and political patronage” protecting the criminals, according to the report.

Barrick has long faced scrutiny for police-related violence and deaths at North Mara. Dozens of local villagers have reportedly been injured or killed by police, who receive regular support from the company for providing security outside the mine. The company has blamed the violence on “intruders” who illegally enter the mine in search of gold-bearing rock.

These allegations are the subject of the court case currently underway in London, where Tanzanian villagers are claiming that Barrick co-operated with local police who caused deaths and injuries in the local community – an allegation that the company denies.

The internal report estimated that the losses from trespassers were only about US$200,000 a year, while the mine was losing much larger sums from organised criminal groups operating in much more sophisticated ways.

A spokesperson for Barrick did not respond to questions from reporters from The Globe and Mail newspaper (of Canada, where Barrick is based) about the report on criminal activities at North Mara. However, in the court case Barrick lawyers acknowledged that the company was aware of allegations that the mine was infiltrated by criminal syndicates in collusion with the police.

The mining company “took what steps it could, including rotation of police officers assigned to the mine site, to prevent collusion,” Barrick said in its statement of defence.
Lawyers for the Tanzanian claimants said Barrick must disclose more information on the North Mara criminal activities. They argue that the police violence is sometimes a result of police collusion with one or more criminal syndicates at North Mara. To help the syndicates, police have controlled access by the trespassers and used force against villagers who were suspected of competing with the syndicates for gold-bearing rock, the lawyers said.

A British-based rights group, Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID), said the alleged police involvement in organized criminal syndicates at North Mara was troubling, since the police are still involved in day-to-day security at the mine today. “It raises serious questions as to why Barrick continues to have such a close relationship with the police,” said Anneke Van Woudenberg, executive director of RAID. (The Globe and Mail)

Helium drilling enters crucial stage
The search for helium gas has stepped up with the commencement of new drilling in Rukwa region, according to the Minister for Minerals, Anthony Mavunde. The new drilling holds the potential of making Tanzania the world’s leading source of helium and securing the future of the vital gas used in medical diagnostics, among other critical applications.

Justyn Wood, the CEO of Noble Helium, the company responsible for the exploration, expressed his appreciation for the collaborative efforts that have brought them to this juncture in a statement.

“This operation is a testament to the dedication and collaborative efforts of Noble Helium’s team, the Marriott Group, SLB Services, local suppliers and workers, and the Tanzanian government. It is an absolute milestone moment in the company’s history.”

The milestone marks a crucial juncture as Tanzania gears up to commence actual helium production in 2025, provided all goes according to plan. The numbers are staggering, with Tanzania’s primary helium project in Rukwa estimated to contain as much as 138 billion cubic feet (bcf) of recoverable helium, making it the largest known primary helium deposit in the world.

This surpasses the 54 billion cubic feet of helium discovered at Lake Rukwa in 2016, which was already celebrated as a discovery of global significance.

The global helium market has long been dominated by the US, and more recently by Russia. However, with the significant reserves in Tanzania, experts in the mining sector believe the nation is poised to become the world’s largest helium supplier.

A senior economist specialising in mineral resources, Dr John Kitomari, said, “The successful extraction and export of helium could significantly boost Tanzania’s economy and contribute to the country’s long-term financial stability.”

“The world watches with bated breath, eager to see if this crucial stage of exploration will usher in a new era for Tanzania as a major helium producer, fundamentally transforming the dynamics of the global helium market,” he said.
Besides providing a vital ingredient for party balloons and other inflatables, helium is an important gas in modern medical technology such as MRI scanners and has uses in scientific research and space exploration.

Map showing the Eyasi-Wembere basin area, to the west of Arusha, with the southern tip near Singida.

Oil exploration underway in Northern Tanzania
Tanzania has completed the acquisition of 2D seismic data in the Eyasi Wembere basin, a key step in the country’s quest to discover oil and natural gas in the region. The project, which cost TSh8 billion, was conducted in areas within the eastern branch of the great rift valley, spanning six districts across five regions, namely Singida, Arusha, Tabora, Shinyanga, and Simiyu

The basin is believed to have the potential to contain significant oil and gas resources, based on its geological similarities to other oil-producing basins in the region, such as the Albertine and Turkana basins in Uganda and Kenya, respectively.

Mr Sindi Maduhu, a Geophysicist from the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) and the Project Manager, explained that the 2D seismic data acquisition will help the country identify areas with potential for oil and natural gas presence.


by Dr Hildebrand Shayo

Vice President Philip Mpango and Finance & Planning Minister Mwigulu Nchemba launching the National Development Vision 2050.

Tanzania’s National Vision 2050: lessons to learn from China?
Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan, the president of the United Republic of Tanzania recently endorsed the process of soliciting public input for the National Development Vision 2050 (NDV). Among the eight directives she issued was a need to adhere to a strong emphasis on national integrity.

To create prosperity for all, the NDV 2050 places a strong emphasis on an inclusive economy that aims to reduce poverty, create jobs, and increase exports outside the nation to earn foreign currency. The endorsement took place in the nation’s capital, Dodoma, in front of international partners and development agencies who attended the launching of the process of preparing the new vision, showcasing their commitment to supporting Tanzania’s development journey.

For a trip like this to bear fruit, we must learn from our peers. There are lessons to be learned from China, for example, which has a remarkable record at eradicating poverty with a well-coordinated and capable, focused government. These factors made the country’s strategy for economic growth possible, as well as the carefully calibrated policies and programmes that produce the long-term gains that the rest of the world is currently experiencing.

Published Chinese data shows that from 1970 to 2017, the percentage of Chinese citizens living in extreme poverty fell from approximately 90% to 88% in 1981, 10.2% by 2012, 3.1% by 2017, and approximately 30.46 million at that time. It was stated in 2022 that only 0.7% of people were considered to be living below the poverty line. How China did this is a potentially useful lesson for Tanzania in its planning for NDV 2050.

Undeniably, China’s efforts to reduce poverty have depended on a series of dedicated and determined leaders, starting with Chairman Mao, followed by Deng Xiaoping (who implemented the National Economic Development Programme), and, more recently, President Xi Jinping, who has made the fight against poverty the centrepiece of his administration.

A large portion of the imperial economy was based on agriculture and agrarianism, which meant that generations of Chinese people had historically lived in poverty for tens of decades under the various Dynasties. But starting in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party made a significant effort to lessen extreme poverty and inequality, which resulted in land and economic reforms.

This measure was followed by investment in rural healthcare and education facilities, as well as farm irrigation systems. Throughout, the CCP was the catalyst for the nation’s efforts to reduce poverty.

The Chinese government’s subsequent initiatives to reduce poverty, a good lesson to Tanzania were based on two main factors. One, the economy must be transformed to create new opportunities and raise income levels; Two, policies and programmes to reduce poverty must target demographics that lack access to opportunities due to their geographic location.

Based on this, Tanzania could in its NDV 2050 adopt the four main strategies that China used to reduce poverty: improving urbanisation, which will encourage the development of industries and income potential; increasing agricultural productivity, which will help raise household and farmer incomes; continuing industrialization, which will result in a record number of well-paying jobs and an increase in foreign investment; and significant investments in infrastructure, particularly roads, which will help to improved access to markets and distribution networks.

Currently, one of the main tenets of President Xi Jinping’s governance policies is poverty reduction and this new phase of poverty alleviation in 2012 began when the sitting president took office, solidifying the record of at least seven hundred million people who had been helped by the CCP to escape poverty.

The government needed to identify the impoverished groups and determine the underlying causes of their poverty to implement relief policies and decide who could carry out the programmes at the central, municipal, prefectural, and county levels. This approach could give Tanzania a good start as it establishes the foundation for NDV 2050.

The Xi Jinping administration outlined 5 courses to alleviate poverty. These included: the economy’s continued growth to keep growth job availability or the developmental approach; the relocation of people from extremely impoverished areas to areas where they can find better livelihoods; the creation of environmentally friendly employment opportunities; the provision of quality education as a means of bridging intergenerational poverty; and the provision of social security for those unable to work, including insurance and medical care. All these offer potential as ingredients for Tanzania’s NDV 2050.

A good lesson for Tanzania, as it starts working on NDV 2050, is to know that a fundamental element in the accomplishment of China’s unparalleled efforts to reduce poverty was the presence of sound governance, resulting from devoted leadership, which made it possible for the economic growth plan and the well-targeted policies and initiatives to produce long-term benefits.

China’s success in reducing poverty can be rationalised as a growth story, illustrating how steady and quick economic expansion resulted in changes to the productive base of society, which were then linked to the strengthening of market incentives.

China’s rapid economic and social growth was facilitated by its long-term development plan, strength, and ruthless prioritisation of government goals. These factors attracted investment and provided incentives for growth in important sectors like infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, and technology, among others. The Development Vision 2025–2050 will promote stability, draw investment, and guarantee equitable growth, benefiting all Tanzanians. It will do this by acquiring from peers, especially from China and the United Kingdom.


by Ben Taylor
Rising growth, no fall in poverty

In its recent Country Economic Memorandum for Tanzania, the World Bank concluded that Tanzania’s economic growth model is not sufficiently inclusive and as a result is continuing to trap many in poverty. The report, entitled Privatizing Growth, stated that while many Tanzanians have come out of poverty in recent years, many others have fallen into it as well: “more than half of those in the lowest quintile of the wealth distribution in 2021 had fallen back from a higher quintile.”

The Bank said many Tanzanians are “exposed to frequent income shocks” and that they are “highly sensitive to such shocks as they tend to own few assets and have limited access to social protection”. Median consumption per adult in 2021 was more than 10% lower than in 2014 due to overlapping shocks that occurred after 2019, according to the report.

The report found that between 2012 and 2018, poverty in Tanzania – measured against the national basic-needs poverty line – only decreased by 1.8 percentage points. Alongside relatively high GDP growth rates in this period, “the near-zero growth elasticity of poverty in Tanzania was one of the lowest in the world,” and “the number of poor Tanzanians rose by 1.3 million over the same period”.

Nevertheless, the report also pointed to Tanzania’s impressive rate of GDP growth in recent years, which has averaged 6.1% per year since 2000, raising Tanzania to Lower Middle-Income Country (LMIC) status in 2020. And this was accompanied by a lot of progress on broader human development: between 2000 and 2020, life expectancy rose from 52 years to 67 years and the average duration of school attendance from 3.8 years to 6.4 years, while in just the last decade the share of Tanzanians with access to electricity has increased from 5.6% to 39.9%.

This contrast – rapid growth without similar rates of poverty reduction – was the focus of much of the report. In particular, the report unpacked different elements that had contributed to the growth, most notably the changing role of exports. Between 2000 and 2012, Tanzanian exports grew by a massive 6.5 times, but more recently were stagnant afterwards, such that the exports-to-GDP ratio increased from 9.6% in 2000 to 20.9% in 2012, but fell back to 14.3% by 2021. The composition of exports changed too, from over 50% agricultural produce in the 2000s, to a very different situation in 2021, where extractives (mostly gold) made up more than half of all merchandise exports.

The report also found that the agriculture sector’s role in the economy had shifted in recent years. Between 2000 and 2014, the percentage of the labour force employed in agriculture fell from 76% to 67%, but more recently the figure has been rising again. The report points to economic shocks and policy factors forcing many who had previously earned a living in other ways to return to agriculture as a backup livelihood mechanism.

Earlier, speaking at the 27th Annual Research Workshop held in Dar es Salaam, the World Bank Africa Region Chief Economist, Andrew Debalen, emphasised that African countries should invest more in human capital. “To attain real transformation in Africa, the organisation of production has to change. Economies of skills are lacking. Large firms have to augment labour with innovation and technology to reach larger markets,” he says.

Speaking at the same event, the Minister for State in the Prime Minister Office, Professor Joyce Ndalichako said that the government has taken bold steps to strengthen the workforce by investing in education from early ages. “The government has increased the education budget and stepped-up enrolment to ensure that all children have access to education. We have built more classrooms, hired more teachers, and allocated more funds to the Higher Education Student Loans Board to enable more students to pursue higher education,” she said.
The former Chief Secretary, Ambassador Ombeni Sefue argued that despite Tanzania’s move towards the market economy, some Tanzanians still hanker for an outdated model that should be consigned to the past.

“Our entering into the market economy notwithstanding, we are still embracing the past economic model. We forget that our economy can grow through cooperation between the private and public sectors. This is where we should be heading,” he said.

“If the government doesn’t trust the private sector and vice versa, there can never be a conducive environment to build collaborations. We’ve always said that there ought to be channels for each party to listen to the other,” Ambassador Sefue emphasised.


by James L.Laizer

Tanzania Becomes Home to New Seed Bank, Aiming to Boost Food Security in Africa
The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) have partnered to establish a new seed bank in Tanzania, the Africa Seeds and Biotechnology Centre. Positioned in Tanzania strategically due to its climate, the centre aims to distribute high-quality seeds to farmers across Africa. As part of AGRA’s broader initiative, the centre is expected to significantly contribute to improving food security on the continent, conducting research on seed varieties and technologies to boost agricultural productivity. This milestone aligns with Tanzania’s efforts to develop its agricultural sector, create jobs, and stimulate economic growth, contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Tanzania shifts sights for tourism gold with five million visitors sought by 2025
The Citizen noted Tanzania aims to hit the 5 million tourists mark by 2025, boosting the sector’s already significant contribution to the economy (25% of foreign earnings, 17.5% of GDP). This push for “Responsible Tourism for Inclusive Growth” was showcased at the Swahili International Tourism Expo last year, featuring cultural performances from the new target nations. With global eyes on Tanzania’s tourism scene, President Hassan’s government aims to solidify the country’s place on the map, attracting diverse travellers and driving sustainable growth.
Xinhua reported that Tanzania seeks to diversify its tourist base by targeting China, Russia, and India as new strategic markets. This move, announced at the Expo, aims to tap into the growing middle classes in these countries. Tourism Minister Kairuki emphasized the tourism industry’s critical role in Tanzania’s economy. The expo showcased both Tanzania’s natural beauty and its commitment to sustainable practices.

According to the BBC, efforts to attract UK tourists include strategies implemented by the Tanzanian High Commission, such as establishing a special tourism desk, conducting roadshows, and promoting lesser-known circuits. The goal is to welcome 200,000 UK visitors by 2027, aligning with Tanzania’s broader plan to achieve 5 million annual tourists by 2025, aiming to generate $6 billion in tourism revenue.

Zanzibar Bets on Luxury Tourism with East Africa’s First Seven-Star Hotel
Zanzibar ventures into luxury tourism with East Africa’s first seven-star hotel on Pemba Island, a $1.2 billion joint venture with UAE investors. The opulent new hotel project aims to elevate Zanzibar’s tourism offerings but faces concerns about environmental impact and potential community displacement. While promising economic growth and job creation, responsible implementation and community engagement are deemed crucial for a sustainable outcome.

EU Parliament rebukes Tanzania over forced Maasai evictions.
According to Survival International, the European Parliament, citing escalating tensions and alleged violence, condemned the Tanzanian government’s displacement of the Maasai from their ancestral Serengeti lands, in December 2023. Demanding a halt to evictions and dialogue for a rights-respecting solution, the EU resolution adds to international pressure on Tanzania to protect the Maasai people and their cultural heritage.

Wildlife policy, anti-poaching plan launched to boost tourism
Tanzania launched a comprehensive plan to combat poaching and boost tourism late last year. The Wildlife Policy Implementation Strategy and Tanzania Elephant Implementation Plan 2023-2033 involves collaboration with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), focusing on strengthening protection, engaging communities, and investing in anti-poaching efforts. Successes include a recovering African elephant population (from 43,330 to 60,000 since 2014) and rising rhino numbers.

Eastern Arc: An $8 billion emerald, but who guards it?

Clouds rise above forests in the Eastern Arc’s Usambara Mountains. Photo Marije Schaafsma

According to the Mongabay magazine, the importance of the Eastern Arc Mountains is underscored by a study involving over 70 scientists, emphasizing their $8.2 billion value through clean water, carbon capture, and tourism. Protecting this ecosystem, while providing fair compensation to locals, requires international collaboration and sustainable practices. Tanzania’s commitment to a greener future is evident as it explores carbon investments to transition to a low­carbon economy. Challenges include capacity gaps and the need for supportive policies, but promising opportunities in renewable energy and sustainable land use exist. Concerns remain over the long-term security of the hotspot.

Carbon Credits in Africa: Green Promise or Neocolonial Echo?
According to the Citizen, in pursuit of a sustainable future, Tanzania is initiating carbon investments for a low-carbon future, establishing a national carbon market and strategy and a new partnership with the UAE. Challenges include capacity gaps and the need for supportive policies, but promising opportunities exist in clean energy and sustainable agriculture. As Tanzania navigates its carbon investment landscape, building capacity, ensuring alignment with sustainable development goals, and active stakeholder involvement are essential for long-term success.

Despite the potential benefits, concerns arise about Africa’s carbon credit market perpetuating ‘carbon colonialism.’ Tanzanian news platform Chanzo questions whether promised benefits will materialize for local communities and urges transparency, accountability, and community involvement. The challenge lies in ensuring equitable distribution of benefits and empowering local voices in climate action efforts.

Zanzibar Seeks Greener Horizons: Eco-Tourism Summit Charts Island’s Sustainable Future
According to the Citizen, the upcoming Zanzibar Sustainable Tourism Summit, being held on February 19-20, 2024, will gather tourism professionals, conservation experts, and government officials to chart a sustainable course for the island’s tourism industry. This event aims to chart a sustainable course by fostering collaboration, identifying responsible practices, and showcasing local eco-friendly solutions. Aligned with Zanzibar’s commitment to sustainable development, the summit seeks to address environmental challenges while promoting community engagement, resource protection, and cultural preservation.