DAR ES SALAAM, July 3, 2015 — Today, the World Bank Group and the Government of Tanzania are commemorating 50 years of development partnership since 1965 when the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved the US$5 million Agriculture Credit Project, the first credit to the United Republic of Tanzania.
“On behalf of the World Bank Group, I would like to thank the people of Tanzania for the fruitful partnership we have built over the past 50 years and renew our commitment to help the country achieve its objectives of accelerating economic growth. Over the years, Tanzania has become known for both its social and economic stability. We remain committed to support country-driven efforts to eliminate extreme poverty and achieve shared prosperity,” says Makhtar Diop, the World Bank’s Vice President for the Africa Region.
In the last 50 years, the cooperation between the Bank Group and the Government has grown in financing, grants, policy advice, and research; covering various areas from macroeconomic management to projects in transport, energy, education, health, and other key sectors for both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar’s development. This year alone, the World Bank Board of Directors approved a record US$842 million toward new projects in the country.
To commemorate the anniversary, the World Bank and the Government are hosting a panel discussion under the theme, ‘The Future of Development Finance in Tanzania’, where participants will have the opportunity to reflect on lessons learned and discuss the way forward. In addition, a souvenir publication detailing the history of the partnership will also be unveiled before a gathering of 300 guests in Dar es Salaam, including government officials, diplomats, members of the private sector and civil society, as well as the media.
“We are very proud to have been a partner of Tanzania through this important period of the country’s history,” says Philippe Dongier, the outgoing World Bank Country Director for Tanzania. “There remains important challenges ahead, including to continue to strengthen institutions of economic infrastructure in the power, railway, port and water sectors, as well as those delivering education and health services to citizens.”
Despite the strong economic narrative which continues to be supported mainly by construction, communication, and tourism, growth has not had a major impact on reducing poverty, with more than 40 percent of Tanzania’s population living on less than US$1.25 per day.
“There is some hope from recent figures that show a reduction in the national poverty rate from 34 percent in 2007 to 28 percent in 2012,” says Bella Bird, the incoming World Bank Country Director for Tanzania. “Looking forward, prioritizing policy reforms and investments that create jobs for young Tanzanian men and women will be important in order to accelerate this momentum of declining poverty.”
“Job creation is where the international Finance Corporation (IFC) brings most value to Tanzania. The IFC has a growing portfolio of private sector investments in mining, financial markets and institutions, tourism, agri-business and energy. We have helped mobilize more private investment in order to create opportunities for ordinary Tanzanians,” says Dan Kasirye, the IFC Representative in Tanzania.
“As a country we are very proud to have travelled this far on our journey with the World Bank Group as a partner,” says Saada Mkuya Salum, Tanzania’s Minister of Finance. “Not only have we made many significant investments together – in energy generation, transmission and distribution, the Port of Dar es Salaam’s modern container terminal, the thousands of kilometers of road built and maintained, the expansion of services through many new schools and clinics – but we have learned a lot too. And as a result, we are not only a stronger economy in this region but we are also more clear about the direction ahead.”