Tanzania is a fast-growing economy, with growth rates above average for Sub-Saharan Africa since 2005; a stable though evolving political settlement; and robust macroeconomic performances. While two thirds of the population are still employed in the agricultural sector, initial signs of productive transformation have happened over the past few years. For example, food and beverages, some agro-business and mining manufacturing have started to gain traction in domestic and export markets, whilst creating formal employment opportunities.
Despite some encouraging results and the country’s huge growth potential, Tanzania faces multiple challenges constraining its structural transformation and overall poverty reduction. These include the dominance of trade over productive sectors; the shortage of good job opportunities and technical skills; limited productive investments and high concentration of industries in few regions; deficiencies in public service delivery and bottlenecks in key economic infrastructures such as the power sector.
In all these sectors, overlapping corruption practices and rent capture have been major structural constraints to Tanzanian development.
The dramatic acceleration in the fight against corruption by the current government since 2015 has opened an important window of opportunity for sectoral anti-corruption reforms and improved development outcomes. After painful and necessary institutional and economic shocks in the public and private sectors, Tanzania has been slowly moving towards a new stable equilibrium in its political settlement.
More critically, following the pragmatic and deal-making approach of political leadership, new forms of dialogue between the public and private sectors are gradually emerging. This provides an opportunity for researchers to document evidence of corruption and inefficiency in these sectors to help build feasible, high-impact reforms that will support development and tackle corruption.
The consolidation and sustainability of important results achieved so far calls for such sector-specific anti-corruption reforms to be embedded in institutions. These reforms can reduce the vulnerability to corruption in the public sector, deliver pragmatic solutions and tangible results, while opening new spaces for productive investments and diversification, as well as new public-private partnerships.
The achievement of these development outcomes is a critical ingredient in sustaining Tanzanian efforts along its structural transformation pathway. ACE is working towards this objective with its Tanzanian research projects and stakeholders.