Better urban growth in Tanzania: a preliminary exploration of the opportunities and challenges

Working and discussion papers
August 2017
Leah Worrall, Sarah Colenbrander, Ian Palmer, Fortunata Makene, Desmond Mushi, Tausi Kida, Mussa Martine and Nick Godfrey

Tanzania’s urban population is projected to grow from less than 15 million people in 2012 to more than 60 million people by mid-century. This rapid urban population growth offers the potential for structural transformation, as well as scale and agglomeration economies that can accelerate human and economic development. Planning and investment decisions made today will determine the performance of Tanzania’s cities for decades to come. 

This working paper provides an overview of the institutional, policy and financing landscape shaping Tanzania’s urban areas, and summarises some of the social, economic and environmental costs associated with current trends. While recognising the historical and ongoing constraints on Tanzania’s urban development path, this paper also highlights opportunities for the Government of Tanzania to drive a transition to more inclusive productive, inclusive and sustainable towns and cities.

The paper recommends the preparation of an integrated economic, spatial and tenure plan to manage urban growth at the country level. It emphasises the importance of aligning and enabling the activities of municipal authorities, grassroots organisations, private enterprises and research institutes behind a shared vision of urban development.