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Sida's work in Tanzania

Almost half of Tanzania’s population lives in poverty and people’s rights are increasingly being violated. The development cooperation aims to reduce poverty, strengthen democracy, and increase respect for civil and human rights.

Sida’s support to Tanzania 2020

Total development assistance

645 M SEK

Development cooperation

641 M SEK

Humanitarian assistance


Progress has been made

Life expectancy is increasing

Life expectancy is increasing in Tanzania, which is primarily due to reduced infant mortality and fewer deaths due to HIV.

More children start primary school

In 2015, when primary schooling became available free of charge (2017 in Zanzibar), many more children started primary school, many of whom come from families living in poverty.

Corruption has decreased

According to Transparency International, corruption has decreased since 2014, albeit from a very high level. In recent years, the government has been actively making efforts to combat corruption.

Challenges remain

Less respect for human rights

The development of democracy, respect for civil and human rights, and the rule of law is going in the wrong direction.

Difficult to start and run businesses

Tanzania has become more protectionist, for example through the introduction of trade barriers that favour domestic businesses and disadvantage foreign ones. This, as well as a decline in confidence in the private sector, make it more difficult for companies and investors.

Many students drop out of school

The quality of the education in primary schools is low and many students do not complete their schooling. The education of young women is a challenge, especially young mothers who have a hard time continue their education. 

Development cooperation in Tanzania

For a long time, Tanzania was more politically stable than its neighbours, and for most of the 21st century Tanzania’s economy developed rapidly and poverty was declining.

However, in recent years, political governance has become more authoritarian, the economy has weakened, and the incidence of poverty is no longer declining to the extent it was before. The development regarding political rights and civil liberties is moving in the wrong direction. Nearly half of the country’s more than 57 million people live in poverty.

Democracy, human rights, gender equality, and the rule of law

Freedom of expression and the news media in Tanzania has been under increasing pressure since 2015. The situation LGBTQ people face has deteriorated. Defenders of political and human rights are being detained, civil society organisations are finding it more difficult to operate, and critics of the regime are being threatened with violence. Many adolescent girls and women suffer from gender-based violence and discrimination. 

Defending human rights

Violations of human rights are becoming more and more frequent. Sida supports several initiatives aimed at countering this development, such as the Legal and Human Rights Center who, among other activities, works with “barefoot lawyers,” volunteers with legal knowledge, to resolve land disputes and assist in divorces and pursue cases against the State when they believe that a new laws violates the Constitution. The Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition protects defenders of human rights.

Press ethics and journalists’ rights

In 2019, Tanzania fell 25 places in the Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index. Sida supports the Union of Tanzania Press Clubs (UTPC) which brings together local journalists throughout Tanzania via 28 press clubs in as many regions. The objective is to strengthen press ethics, journalists’ rights, security and working conditions as well as to improve journalism.

The Union of Tanzania Press Club website


Primary schooling is now provided free of charge. This has led to that the vast majority of girls and boys start school. However, the quality of education remains low and the pressure on the educational system is difficult to respond to as more children come to school.

Improving the quality of public education

There is a significant shortage of teachers, teaching material and classrooms in Tanzanian schools. Many schools do not even have toilets or running water, which prevents girls from going to school when they are on their period. Education PforR (Programme for Results) is an innovative, results-based financing programme whose mission is to improve quality, equity and access in the public education system, for example by ensuring that the funding for schools reaches the schools on time, that the teachers are evenly distributed between the schools, and to produce statistics.

Education for young mothers

When they become pregnant or have children, young women are generally not allowed to continue their education, which makes it even more difficult for them to find gainful employment and provide for themselves. Sida prioritises the education of girls, including via support for the Karibu Tanzania Organization (KTO), which, for example, offers an adult secondary school equivalent education for young mothers.

The Karibu Tanzania Organization website

Employment and social security

The vast majority of Tanzanians work in the growing informal sectors of the economy, many in agriculture. Incomes are low and the working conditions are often poor.

Sustainable farming practices

Of the 65% of Tanzanians working in agriculture, out of which the majority live in poverty. Sida supports several initiatives working to develop the agricultural sector. For example, the Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA), works to educate farmers on matters relating to sustainable farming practices, to create conditions for them be able to sell their products and encourage growing of more fruit, vegetables, spices and flowers, resulting in higher yields than maize and cassava.

The Tanzania Horticultural Association website

Commercial loans for farmers

Via a guarantee, Sida contributes to the Private Agricultural Sector Support Trust (PASS) which assists farmers in developing business plans. PASS also offers commercial loans at market rates, as an alternative to expensive short-term loans in the informal sector.

The Private Agricultural Sector Support website

Creating social safety

The fact that the growth and development of children is affected by malnutrition in the first year of the child is all too common in Tanzania. Sida supports the Productive Social Safety Network (PSSN) project, which strengthens social safety nets. 1.1 million households receive cash grants, which enabled individuals to have access to more food, better health, and that more children are attending school. 

Environment and climate

The population of Tanzania is growing rapidly, putting pressure on the country’s natural resources. Climate change and unsustainable management of resources negatively affects both people and the environment.

Electricity in rural areas

In rural and peri-urban areas, where many people live in poverty, most people do not have access to electricity. Sida supports the efforts to increase access to electricity in rural areas, by building new grids, densifying existing power grids, and by supporting small-scale electricity generation. The focus is on renewable energy.

Reforestation and forest protection

Forests are being degraded or completely destroyed, for fuel, timber and for the creation of arable land. This leads to the depletion of biological diversity, the soil erodes, and the climate, both locally and globally, is affected. The WWF conducts several projects in Tanzania where reforestation and forest protection are used as a way for people to earn a living.

Research cooperation

Swedish research cooperation with Tanzania started in 1977. The aim is to develop research capacities at universities, so that local researchers have a greater possibility to find solutions to the challenges facing Tanzania.

Partnerships between Tanzanian and Swedish universities

Currently, 12 Swedish universities are in a collaborative partnership with three universities in Tanzania, where working together they are researching i.a. food safety, water and sanitation as well as business administration with a focus on agriculture and tourism.

The programme currently has more than 120 doctoral students working to attain a PhD.

Updated: 8 April 2021