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Results BriefsDecember 22, 2023

Infrastructure Investments are Improving Lives and Livelihoods in Tanzania

Tanzania reached an important milestone in July 2020 when it formally graduated from low-income to lower-middle-income country (LMIC) status. In partnership with the International Development Association (IDA), the country has made significant progress towards achieving the priorities of its development agenda in the areas of improving electricity access in rural areas and transportation services in large cities. Tanzania has made impressive progress by increasing the electrification rate from 7 percent in 2011 to 38 percent in 2020. The introduction of the Dar es Salaam BRT system has increased the quality of public transport available, featuring modern high-capacity buses operating in dedicated lanes, which have impactfully reduced congestion and travel time.

Some commuters who live in Mbezi, Kibamba, Goba, and as far as Kibaha park their vehicles each morning and catch a BRT bus at Kimara to go to the Dar es Salaam city center. It is expected that when the full BRT system - sequential development of 140 km of corridors in six phases - becomes operational, private car owners, who constitute approximately 14 percent of total daily trips in Dar es Salaam would be motivated to leave their vehicles at home and use the new mass transit system.

This is exactly the impact the BRT has already started having in Dar es Salaam on people such as Ibrahim Mwalafyale, who lives 8km from the Kamara Terminal in Mbezi-Makabe. “My transport budget has been reduced by more than 70 percent,” said Mwalafyale. With a wife and two children attending primary school, Mwalafyale used to drive his car a distance of 29km from Makabe to the Central Business District where he works as an accountant. “We now drive for only 8kms from Makabe to this lot and then we hop onto a BRT bus and 45 minutes later, my two boys are in school, my wife is at work, and I am at my desk”, he said.

Passengers wait for the next Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) bus at a terminal in Dar es Salaam. Since starting operations in May 2016, BRT ridership has increased to 150,000 people per day.

In addition, access to electricity has made it easy to start a business in the village as well as reduced operating costs for small businesses. Penina Kibanda recently completed studies at the university of Kampala and after graduation she worked at a hospital in Sinza in Dar es Salaam to gain some income and experience before opening her own pharmacy business in the village. “I preferred to come and invest in the village after hearing that there was electricity which would allow me to work any time,” she said.

Sophia Mkuya, a tailor in Bahi district, Dodoma, highlights the transformative impact of electricity in her work: “Since the introduction of electricity, I can sew clothes at night, and I use an electric iron instead of a charcoal iron.”


Between 2017 to date, the Tanzania Rural Electrification Expansion Program provided electricity to more than 6 million people, over 1,600 healthcare facilities, 6,500 education facilities and over 16,000 business enterprises.


Infrastructure provision plays a crucial role in driving social and economic development in developing economies. Universal access to resilient and affordable infrastructure such as electricity and transportation services can bring about a range of transformative impacts, stimulating economic growth, improving living conditions and fostering sustainable development.

Like many countries in Sub Saharan Africa, Tanzania faces a significant infrastructure deficit. For instance, about two thirds of the population lack access to electricity, and despite 80 percent of the population living in rural areas, only 24.5 percent of the rural population has access to electricity compared to 73percent in urban areas.

In addition, Tanzania’s urban population is growing rapidly, increasing the demand for infrastructure and services. Dar es Salaam city for instance, is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, and its planners are now struggling to keep up. With a current city population of over 7 million, and average population growth rate of 5 percent since 2020, Dar es Salaam is expected to become a mega city with more than 10 million people by 2030. However, the rapid population growth is outpacing infrastructure provision, particularly in transportation services, resulting in traffic congestion. The average commuting time on public transport is about 120 minutes, meaning four hours in a day are spent getting from home to work and vice versa, which is detrimental to productivity. Further, 43 percent of commuters use public transport to travel to and from work and World Bank estimates show that residents spend approximately 34 percent of their average monthly incomes on transportation, limiting resources for other uses. To address infrastructure challenges the government of Tanzania embarked on massive infrastructure investment programs.


To improve electricity access, the government of Tanzania under the Big Results Now Initiative launched in 2013 embarked on rural electrification expansion programs. With IDA financial support on projects such as the TREEP and development policy operations (DPOs), electricity access in Tanzania rapidly increased, to stand as one of the fastest access expansion rates in Sub-Saharan Africa. Under the DPOs, increased electrification was achieved, including reduced cost of electricity supply by 13 percent between 2012 and 2015; and the elimination of power supply connection fees that reduced barriers for new customers to connect.

To reduce commuter travel times and general congestion in Dar es Salaam, and to unlock the full economic potential and opportunities cities offer, the government of Tanzania improved the city transportation system by investing in the Dar es Salaam BRT system. The World Bank provided financial support and technical assistance for the Dar es Salaam BRT system to enhance the system's resilience and ability to respond effectively during emergency situations given the vulnerability of Tanzania to floods and changing climate conditions.


Between 2016 and 2022, the BRT system achieved the following results:

  • Reduced travel time on almost 16 km of the Kimara-Kivukoni corridor from over two hours to under one hour under BRT Phase One development.
  • Reduced average rush hour in-vehicle travel time to under one hour from close to two hours for freight trucks from Tabata Relini to Mbezi Musuguri through Ubungo.
  • Reduced the average annual number of pedestrian fatalities by 79 percent under BRT Phase One development.
  • Improved accessibility for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, school kids, and people with disabilities by equipping all BRT buses with wide access points and disabled seating.

Between 2016 to date, the TREEP project achieved the following results:

  • Provided electricity to more than 6 million people in Tanzania, with new connections for more than 1,600 healthcare facilities, close to 6,500 education facilities, and over 16,000 business enterprises.
  • Created employment and business opportunities for women, improved outcomes for students in remote parts of the country and is helping Tanzania to diversify its energy mix by enhancing the use of renewable energy resources.


World Bank Group Contribution

The total program cost for the Tanzania Rural Electrification Expansion Program is $1.3 billion, of which $200 million is financed by IDA and $9 million from trust funds (SREP Grant), $258 million from donors (DfID, EU, Government of Norway, SIDA, SREP loan) and $900 million from the Government of Tanzania.

The total program cost to develop the BRT system is $450 million, of which $425 is financed by IDA and $25.8 million by the Government of Tanzania.


  • The partners involved in the development of the BRT System include Agence Française De Dévelopement (AFD), African Development Bank (AfDB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the World Bank.  The World Bank is supporting the development of BRT line 1, 3 and 4. AfDB is supporting the development of BRT line 2, AFD the development of BRT line 5 and JICA is financing all transit-oriented development works along the BRT systems.
  • The partners in the TREEP project include SIDA, DFID, Government of Norway, European Union and the World Bank. These partners are providing parallel financing and technical advisory support to enable institutional capacity development for improved program implementation.

Looking Ahead

Tanzania's Country Partnership Framework (CPF) plays a crucial role in advancing sustainable and inclusive development by providing a strategic framework for collaboration between the World Bank Group and the Tanzanian government. The CPF helps to align the WBG's financial resources and technical expertise with the country's development priorities, ensuring that IDA financing is directed towards areas that have the greatest potential for impact and sustainable development such as, infrastructure development, financial inclusion, agriculture, health, education, and environmental sustainability. A new CPF is being developed in partnership with the Government of Tanzania and is expected to be ready early 2024. The new CPF involves an assessment of achievements, challenges and opportunities encountered during the previous CPF (for the period 2018 to 2022) to inform the focus of the forthcoming CPF.