Photo: Rob Beechey
Sida’s Director General visits partners in Tanzania
Sida's Director General Carin Jämtin visited Tanzania in November. It was her first visit to a partner country since she assumed her position in May 2017. A research conference that commemorated 40 years of research cooperation between Sweden and Tanzania was a highlight in a programme that included visits to Swedish-supported projects and discussions with partners.
The research conference show-cased the accomplishments of four decades of research cooperation between Sweden and Tanzania and illustrated how the cooperation has evolved and changed character over time. A recurrent theme in presentations and panel discussions was that it takes time to build sustainable research capacity. The long-term perspective and commitment shown by partners involved in the research cooperation was lauded by many and sustainability was also highlighted in Carin's keynote address:
"Our definition of sustainability within research cooperation is when our partner countries don't have to go abroad, for instance to Swedish universities, to pursue a PhD degree, but rather be able to fulfil their education in Tanzania".
Sweden's bilateral cooperation with Tanzania is significant both in terms of size and scope. It ranges from support to education, human rights and social cash transfers to access to credits, private sector development and access to electricity. Carin Jämtin met with partners and beneficiaries in all areas of cooperation to see how results-based approaches, guarantees, sector budget support and other aid modalities come into play.
"I was inspired to see bankers willing to partner to make small loans available to the poor, to see how cash transfers have enabled women to start income-generating activities, to learn about the fast progress and plans for the future in the area of rural electrification".
Progress and challenges for Tanzanian schools
The visit to Maji Matitu Primary School gave Carin Jämtin a chance to learn about the efforts, progress and challenges for Tanzanian schools. With some classrooms filled with more than 200 students the visit illustrated the challenges to teaching and learning. She was encouraged to learn about the efforts under way to train teachers and to construct new classrooms and noted:
"The increase in the number of students that the removal of school fees has resulted in is a challenge, but it also shows something positive: the importance Tanzanian parents attribute to their children getting an education".
Meetings with donor representatives and with Tanzanian partners from government, civil society, the private sector and academia provided an opportunity to learn more about the political, economic and social situation in the country and, with this as a background, to discuss the role of Swedish development cooperation in areas such as environment and climate and human rights and democracy.