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Realising Tanzania's growth through digital economy

Tanzania’s digital economy presents an opportunity for the country to accelerate economic growth. With the development of its third Five-Year Development Plan (FYDP III) underway, Tanzania is considering how best to leverage the growth opportunities presented by the digital and blue economies to achieve its 2025 development objectives. 

Unlocking Tanzania’s digital economy can scale income-generating work and improve value in the economy’s extractive sectors. Also the use of digital in the blue economy can help harness Tanzania’s ocean assets and protect natural resources.

Genesis Analytics partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to provide clear recommendations on the development of Tanzania’s digital and blue economies. These recommendations will be used by policy-makers in the development of FYDP III. Genesis led the assignment, with a focus on elevating Tanzania’s digital economy, and collaborated with the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) to provide expert recommendations on the blue economy.

The assignment involved three stages, concluding in a strategy primer to complement the FYDP III agenda:

  • Identifying and prioritising the most critical digital economy opportunities for Tanzania;
  • Identifying gaps in precise areas where action is required to enable these opportunities; and
  • Developing targeted policy-level recommendations to close gaps and realise opportunities.

Genesis and SAIIA undertook a broad economy-wide analysis to understand the digital landscape in Tanzania and determine where the biggest areas of opportunity were to be leveraged. The most lucrative sectors that required action were identified by conducting a number of stakeholder consultations across the public and private sectors.

Recommendations were developed using the findings of these consultations, while considering solutions implemented by neighbouring East African countries that are also digitising their economies. Genesis and SAIIA worked closely with UNDP and Tanzania’s Ministry of Finance and Planning to fully conceptualise the state of the digital economy and validate the recommendations developed.

The strategy primer details how responsible digitalisation can accelerate industrialisation in Tanzania’s key sectors to achieve export-led, inclusive growth in the next five years. The implementation of the recommendations provided in the strategy primer is expected to create 40,000 or more jobs for Tanzania’s youth in the global business sector and increase the average monthly income of informal workers and entrepreneurs. 

Additionally, the primer aims to improve linkages and market sensitisation in Tanzania’s agriculture, manufacturing and mining sectors, increasing productivity and output of finished goods. Finally the digital solutions recommended for the blue economy aim to support the recovery of tourism to pre-COVID levels and accelerate export-led industrialisation through sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices.

The pinnacle of the project was discussing the process of the assignment and presenting our recommendations during Tanzania’s 2021 Innovation Week. Our recommendations were well received by the government and private sector representatives in attendance.

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