Imagining Tanzania’s Future: Tanzania Strategic Dialogue Initiative

Imagining Tanzania’s Future: Tanzania Strategic Dialogue Initiative

An Inaugural Strategic Dialogue , Sea Cliff Hotel, Dar-es-Salaam, 19 February 2014

Tanzania has experienced a decade of strong and sustained economic growth and export performance, with growth rates exceeding those of better-known performers such as China, Brazil and India. Despite this stellar performance, there has been almost no impact on the number of citizens living in poverty. Instead, their numbers increased from 10 million in 1990 to 19 million in 2010.

Signs of intensifying social tensions are becoming apparent. Religious tolerance, long a hallmark that differentiated Tanzania from other countries in the region, seems to be evaporating as clerics and religious leaders are murdered and places of worship are desecrated. In a poll published in early 2013, 43% of citizens cited religious conflict as a problem, up from 0% just a year earlier (2011).

In terms of the delivery of social services, the gap between citizens’ expectations of the government and the reality of their daily experience is widening. Another poll revealed that in 2012, more people expressed dissatisfaction with the delivery of electricity, water and education services than was the case in 2011.

On the regional front, Tanzania is faced with a growing reputation for an increasingly isolationist stance with respect to the regional integration process, widespread skepticism, lack of enthusiasm, fence sitting and policy defensiveness with respect to the East African Community.

Tanzania is at a transitional moment. The 2015 General Election will result in a change of top leadership and the formation of a new government. It may be the country’s most contested election to date and will test the maturity of the country’s political, economic and social discourse, and its national institutions. Informed, inclusive and forward-looking dialogue is urgently needed on Tanzania’s challenges, opportunities and prospects.

There are limited spaces where citizens can engage in an open dialogue about the future of the country. Where some exist, they may only reflect particular ideologies or interests. Alternatively, people are convened to validate or endorse a position or institution rather than to explore the present and future together.

The Tanzania Strategic Dialogue initiative proposes to explore broader issues that will spark critical, wider thinking amongst Tanzanians as they engage with their future. Through this initiative, the Society for International Development will catalyze an informed, future-oriented dialogue among Tanzanians.

The aim is to generate more citizens who are better informed with new knowledge and insight. It is expected that will result in more active and engaged citizens who will lead, catalyze and participate in constructive , forward-looking dialogues among Tanzanians and between them and the authorities.  

Cover: scm photo/flickr