Tanzania’s premier research institution, the Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA), has unveiled a pivotal 5-year Research Programme on Structural Transformation and Development Trajectory in Tanzania during the 27th Annual Research Workshop, convened in Dar es Salaam from 8-9 November 2023.
The event was held in partnership with the Central Bank of Tanzania (BOT), the President’s Office – Investment & Planning, and Gatsby Africa.
The program seeks to address the critical objective of structural transformation, a cornerstone of Tanzania’s development policy since its post-independence era.
Tanzania has ascended to a lower-middle-income status as of July 2020. Yet, challenges remain in sustaining this growth and transforming the economic structure in the face of a rapidly evolving global landscape.
Despite considerable investments in structural transformation over the past decade, Tanzania has witnessed a premature deindustrialization, with a shift from manufacturing to services and mining.
Under the theme ‘Galvanising Sustainable and Inclusive Growth Through Structural Transformation,’ the workshop took a closer look at the opportunities for sustainably enhancing productive capacities.
In his address and opening remarks, Mr. Donald Mnari, Executive Director of REPOA, underscored the program’s critical role in shaping the nation’s future: “Our commitment is unwavering towards transforming our economy into a robust, semi-industrialized entity, pivotal for our sustained development.”
Mr. Samuel Kilua, Country Director of Gatsby Africa, reflected on past economic strides and the journey forward: “Elevating to a lower-middle-income country status marks a milestone. Our focus now is to ensure these achievements are not just sustained but also form the foundation for future growth.”
Her Excellency Mary O’Neill, Ambassador of Ireland to Tanzania, highlighted the synergy between research and policy-making: “The integration of rigorous research into our policy-making processes is essential for governance that is both effective and responsive to our developmental needs.”
Hon. Omar Said Shaaban, Minister of Trade and Industrial Development of Zanzibar, representing Hon. Kitila Mkumbo, Minister of State in the President’s Office – Planning and Investments, detailed the government’s investment in transformation: “A staggering TZS 211 trillion has been channeled into structural transformation, a testament to our resolve to enhance our economic production and productivity.”
Dr. Joyce Ndalichako, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office for Labour, Youth, Employment & Persons with Disability, speaking on behalf of Hon Dr. Philip Isidor Mpango, Vice President of Tanzania, stressed the importance of a strategic and inclusive approach: “Recognizing our growth challenges is the first step. We must now commit to a strategic path that is inclusive and geared towards rectifying these challenges.”
Mr. Andrew Debalen, World Bank’s Africa Region Chief Economist, contextualized Tanzania’s economic performance: “Tanzania’s economic growth is impressive on a global scale. Yet, the challenge lies in maintaining this momentum amidst the complexities of an evolving global economy.”
Mr. Lawrence Mafuru, Executive Secretary of the National Planning Commission, emphasized the need for a comprehensive strategy: “The shift in GDP contribution from agriculture to services and industry is a significant transition. Our strategy must be inclusive and ensure benefits across all sectors.”
REPOA’s recommendations for the program focus on several key areas:
- Enhancing productive capacities and fostering industrial and trade expansion as a means to catalyze economic transformation.
- Investing in human capital development to ensure a skilled workforce capable of driving and sustaining economic growth.
- Strengthening policy and institutional reforms to create an enabling environment for private sector participation and investment.
- Promoting public-private partnerships to leverage resources and expertise from both sectors for economic development.
- Encouraging participation in regional and global value chains to enhance competitiveness and integration into the global economy.
The workshop served as a platform for policy dialogue and research on accelerating the structural transformation of Tanzania’s economy.
It highlighted the need for a collective effort from researchers, institutions, and the government to implement these recommendations and achieve inclusive, competitive, and productivity-led economic growth.
The workshop concluded with a call to action for all stakeholders to evaluate their contributions towards Tanzania’s development objectives and to renew their commitment to a transformative economic agenda that benefits the nation and its people.