Researchers on why job creation remains a challenge in Tanzania

The executive director of the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI), Prof Espen Villanger, speaks during International Policy Research Workshop in Dar es Salaam on May 22, 2024. PHOTO | SUNDAY GEORGE

What you need to know:

  • Repoa has undertaken numerous studies and found areas where the country has taken measures, including the construction of special economic zones, but there is still much to be done

Dar es Salaam. Despite various efforts taken by the government to expand the scope of the labour market, the country still faces a significant challenge in creating new economic opportunities for its citizens.

The situation has been affecting sensitive sectors, including agriculture and industry, due to the lack of a stable link that would enable an increase in the value of crops and enhance the value chain of industrial raw materials.

This was revealed in Dar es Salaam yesterday during a two-day International Policy Research Workshop.

The workshop on Competence and Jobs Creation is the brainchild of a research institution, Repoa. It brings together researchers and other stakeholders from six countries around the world.

“A large percentage of Tanzanians depend on agriculture, not because they love the sector but because they are forced to continue being there due to a lack of capital, so they end up using poor technology that does not increase the value of the crops,” said the director of Strategic Research at Repoa, Dr Jamal Msami.

He said it was due to such limitations that Tanzania remains on a basic economy that cannot meet the competition or provide productivity for the nation.

Dr Msami said the country’s economic growth should go hand in hand with the creation of employment opportunities.

As such, he said, there was an urgent need to give priority to competence and job creation.

According to the researcher, Repoa has conducted many studies and identified areas where the country has taken steps, including the establishment of special economic zones.

“In the last 25 years, we have done many studies in this area, and among our recommendations that we gave and that were worked on is the establishment of special economic zones that create more jobs. We have seen progress, but more efforts need to be made,” he said.

Currently, Tanzania has a total of eleven economic zones in various regions.

The zones have contributed significantly to the production of jobs, with the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) providing more than 5000 jobs.

Speaking at the official launch, the Labour Commissioner from the Prime Minister’s Office (Labour, Youth, Employment and Persons with Disabilities), Ms Suzan Mkangwa, said the government has continued to take various measures to create jobs, including creating an enabling environment for the attraction of investments.

“President Samia Suluhu Hassan has herself been at the forefront of bringing investors to the country who have created many jobs for Tanzanians. We still have a long-standing problem of young people who graduate from college being unemployed, but most of them insist on staying in the city while job opportunities can also be created in farms and factories,” she added.

She said among the strategies the government was undertaking was to teach young people that after graduating, they should not wait for employment.

“That’s why the government has started various programmes to create skills to earn their income instead of relying on employment,” she said.

On the other hand, the executive director of the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI), Prof Espen Villanger, said that Tanzania needs to strengthen the area of job creation to identify the binding constraints. “I suggest the government work with the World Bank to identify the constraints,” he said.

Prof Villanger said a large percentage of Tanzania’s population was working in the agricultural sector. As such, he said, more reforms were needed in that area. “We have seen in other countries, including Ethiopia, where agribusiness reforms have been taken that have created more jobs for rural farmers,” he said.