Tanzania democratic reforms attract attention of US

President Samia Suluhu Hassan speaks at a council of political parties stakeholders meeting in Dar es Salaam on September 12, 2023. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE

What you need to know:

  • Tanzania is among the countries experiencing democratic openings, the US embassy in Dar es Salaam said in a statement.

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania’s democratic reforms have earned the attention of the US, which has partnered with major foundations and companies to commit investment in the country.

Tanzania is among the countries experiencing democratic openings, the US embassy in Dar es Salaam said in a statement, adding that the assistance aims to deliver essential services and bring about tangible progress for citizens in the countries.

“The bond between the American and Tanzanian people that has remained strong for over 60 years is based on shared values and shared aspirations. We want the same thing: a Tanzania that is peaceful and prosperous, where all citizens can realise their full potential and exercise their basic freedoms,” said US Agency for International Development (USAID) Tanzania Mission director, Mr Craig Hart.

“We applaud Tanzania and its leaders for undertaking important democratic reforms that have given greater voice to citizens, expanded civic space and media freedom, and re-engaged with the international community. These reforms are already improving Tanzanians’ lives,” he said.

At the USAID’s “Democracy Delivers” event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly yesterday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and USAID Administrator Samantha Power, in partnership with the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, convened philanthropic and private sector partners who pledged to invest in Tanzania and other countries experiencing democratic openings.

Ambassador of Tanzania to the US, Ms Elsie Kanza, joined the event alongside leadership from USAID’s first cohort of Democracy Delivers countries—Armenia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Malawi, the Maldives, Moldova, Nepal, Tanzania, and Zambia—to discuss ways to channel new and diverse resources that will support reformers and citizens in their countries who are building democracies that deliver for all.

The initiative, launched in 2022 by Blinken and Power, aims to surge support, resources, and attention to countries experiencing moments of democratic opportunity.

During the event, major US foundations and companies announced investments to strengthen health systems, improve access to solar energy, and support early childhood development and youth empowerment in Tanzania.

The Hilton Foundation is investing approximately $8 million to strengthen primary health systems, early childhood development, and youth empowerment programmes in Tanzania.

Tanzania is one of four countries receiving $20 million from the Ford Foundation to support the expansion of democracy.

This includes funding for Ford’s long-standing work to strengthen the pillars of democracy, increase civic participation, and expand democratic values by fostering engagement between the government and the people of Tanzania.

The Skoll Foundation is investing $16.9 million to strengthen health systems and deepen partnerships between communities and ministries of Health in Tanzania and three other countries.

This funding will improve pandemic responses, enhance community-level health systems, and identify innovative solutions to health system challenges.

As part of an approximately $11.2 million grant to advance access to justice, community philanthropy, and climate change solutions in Democracy Delivers countries, the Mott Foundation will demonstrate a scalable model to address climate change by improving access to solar energy within selected agricultural value chains in last-mile communities in Tanzania.

Tanzania is one of six countries that will be supported by a $1.5 million commitment from the WINGS Foundation to elevate the philanthropic sector as a key partner with governments and civil society actors on localized development initiatives.

This funding supports the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and efforts to protect and promote democracy.

By prioritising responsiveness to citizen needs and enhancing transparency and accountability, these commitments will strengthen the government of Tanzania’s reform initiatives and facilitate improvements to public services, including through inclusive and locally led decision-making.

In total, philanthropic and private sector partners made commitments totalling over $110 million to support Democracy Delivers countries and the broader goal of galvanising democratic openings.