Researchers, policy makers, and representatives of international institutions recently gathered in Dar es Salaam to discuss prospects for a transformation of Tanzania's economy. The country has experienced significant growth over the past two decades, but this growth has not been inclusive, and transformation is necessary in order to ensure that the fruits of growth are shared going forward. The event, opened by Director of UNU-WIDER Finn Tarp, Executive Director of REPOA Donald Mmari, and the Danish Ambassador to Tanzania H.E. Einar Hebogard Jensen, consisted of the presentation of results from four key pieces of joint UNU-WIDER - REPOA research on socio-economic transformation in Tanzania. Experts of diverse backgrounds were in attendance and the event presented an opportunity to share research results and shape future discussions on economic policy in Tanzania.
The role and effectiveness of Special Economic Zones in Tanzania
Carol Newman presented the results of a survey of firms based in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Tanzania. Like many other Sub-Saharan African countries, Tanzania uses SEZs as a tool for stimulating the industrialization process. Firms in SEZs are usually offered a wide range of incentives including tax breaks, subsidies and superior infrastructure. However, there is evidence that some firms feel they can perform better outside SEZs, and that there are constraints preventing SEZs from operating as effectively as they could.
Newman's presentation highlighted five key constraints that, if overcome, could make SEZs in Tanzania more effective.
Difficulties in hiring waged labour
Difficulties in accessing power and fuel
Difficulties in getting licenses and permissions from the authorities
Lack of clarity in government policy in relation to SEZs
Bureaucracy--very high number of compliance visits
Extractives in Tanzania--an opportunity that must be managed
Alan Roe highlighted the enormous potential benefits natural gas extraction could bring to Tanzania both in terms of improved power supply and increased government revenues. However, Roe stressed, in order to ensure that the growth spurred by new extractive projects is inclusive, the government needs policies/strategies so that other sectors of the economy are not left behind. Skills and knowledge must be emphasized and the government should focus on building human capacity in all sectors.
Financial development in Tanzania
Blandina Kilama's presentation at the event highlighted the significant...