Following two decades of sustained growth, Tanzania reached an important milestone in July 2020, when it formally graduated from low-income country to lower-middle-income country status. Tanzania’s achievement reflects sustained macroeconomic stability that has supported growth, in addition to the country’s rich natural endowments and strategic geographic position [1]. However, pandemic-induced shocks slowed Tanzania’s GDP growth rate from 5.8 percent in 2019 to an estimated 2.0 percent in 2020, as shocks to export-oriented sectors such as tourism, manufacturing, and related services diminished business revenue and labor income, which adversely affected domestically oriented firms of all sizes across all sectors. It is critical for Tanzania that its growth process is designed to be inclusive, green and sustainable in the long-term [2].


Population and economic growth are driving the depletion of natural resources, and the degradation of ecosystems and habitats.  The current trend in the use of natural resources is not sustainable, leading to persistent degradation and loss of ecosystems, which constitute the main cause of the natural capital loss.


Key policies and governance approach

The country does not have any specific national policy or strategy on the green economy [3].  However, Tanzania has embarked on a journey towards a green transformation agenda through the largescale agricultural initiative SAGCOT – the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania. SAGCOT is a public-private partnership between the Tanzanian Government and more than 100 partners, including agri-corporations, local organizations and associations, a small number of donors and development partners, and foreign/multi-national investors and business corporations (SAGCOT, 2013) [4]. When launching the initiative in 2010, the government proclaimed that this was the new, green road to economic growth, increased agricultural production, and environmental preservation [4].


Successes and remaining challenges  

Tanzania anticipated making important strides on the pathway towards a Green Economy through green economy initiatives such as the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) [5]. SAGCOT’s Green Growth Strategy includes a number of key components that will safeguard key ecosystem services and natural capital for agriculture and rural communities (e.g., irrigation water supplies) and support climate-smart agriculture to capture carbon in soils and vegetation, improve yields and resilience to droughts and floods as well as protect water quality and biodiversity [5]. SAGCOT aims by 2030 to collect 3.5 billion USD in investments, convey 350,000 hectares of land into commercial farming; creation of 420,000 new employment opportunities, at the same time lifting 2 million people permanently out of poverty (SAGCOT, 2016) [3].

Despite the country can be considered on the way to transitioning tot a green economy, Tanzania is still facing some challenges that are holding back the efforts more than the way forward. Other important areas in the country have been overseen in the transition to a green economy [3].


Initiatives and Development Plans

The country is aiming at transforming the economy from a principal agricultural one to a diversified and semi-industrialized economy with a substantial industrial sector, like those of typical middle-income countries (URT, 2011a). Tanzania’s Vision 2025 has been implemented through Five-Year Development Plans (FYDPs; last one is relatively to the years 2021/2022-2025/2-26) and the National Strategy for Growth and Poverty Reduction (NSGPR). The latter emphasizes the role of governance in growth and poverty reduction on the country’s development agenda, mainstreaming cross-cutting issues in sector strategies and Local Government Authorities development plans. This can be considered a green economy based initiative as it aims at reducing poverty enhance economic growth and protecting the environment [3].

Other relevant actors are working in the country to help the transition, such as IUCN with the IUCN Sustainability and Inclusion Strategy for Growth Corridors in Africa (SUSTAIN-Africa) which has been working in Tanzania sine 2015 in collaboration with national and international partners to support mainstreaming of inclusive green growth in Tanzania’s development initiatives [2].


Goals and Ambitions

Tanzania’s Vision 2025 has as third target “a strong and competitive economy”.  The economy is expected to have the following characteristics:

  • A diversified and semi-industrialized economy with a substantial industrial sector comparable to typical middle-income countries.
  • Macroeconomic stability manifested by a low inflation economy and basic macroeconomic balances.
  • A growth rate of 8% per annum or more.
  • An adequate level of physical infrastructure needed to cope with the requirements of the Vision in all sectors.
  • An active and competitive player in the regional and world markets, with the capacity to articulate and promote national interests and to adjust quickly to regional and global market shifts.

It is also envisaged that fast growth will be pursued while effectively reversing current adverse trends in the loss and degradation of environmental resources (such as forests, fisheries, fresh water, climate, soils, biodiversity) and in the accumulation of hazardous substances [6].



Wildlife-based tourism has the potential to become a key engine of growth and prosperity, bringing jobs and livelihoods to areas with few other options. Recommendations are to:

  • Curb deforestation and habitat loss
  • Allocate additional sources of funding for conservation
  • Diversify tourism locations and products
  • Improve benefit-sharing with rural communities
  • Support alternative livelihoods and rural development
  • Improve business environment
  • Promote Public-Private Partnerships


The blue economy can facilitate the conservation and sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth and prosperity to a large percentage of the Tanzanian population. Recommendations are:

  • Conserve marine biodiversity and protect endangered species
  • Reduce fisheries’ post-harvest losses and add value
  • Build the private sector, PPPs, and infrastructure business plans
  • Better harness the value from deep sea fishing
  • Prevent the reemergence of blast fishing and fight
  • destructive fishing methods
  • Remain engaged in regional cooperation
  • Further promote co-management and improved coastal
  • livelihood opportunities

[1] The World Bank (2021). The World Bank in Tanzania.

[2] IUCN (2019). Blog: Mainstreaming inclusive green growth in Tanzania.

[3] Mihayo, Isege & Swai, Rosemary. (2019). Green economy in Tanzania: Is it foreseeable?. Journal of Applied and Advanced Research. 4. 10.21839/jaar.2019.v4i4.299.

[4] Jill Tove Buseth, Norwegian University of Life Sciences(2017). The green economy in Tanzania: From global discourses to institutionalization.

[5] WWF (2012). Tanzania Embarks on Road to Green Economy.

[6] The United Republic of Tanzania. The Tanzania Development Vision 2025.

[7] World Bank Group. 2019. Tanzania 2019 Country Environmental Analysis : Environmental Trends and Threats, and Pathways to Improved Sustainability. World Bank, Washington, DC. © World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO