Tanzania started a slow process of economic liberalization in 1990, which had among other targets the reversal of the highly centralized government structure that concentrated economic and human resources in the capital, leaving an acute lack of capacity, resources and autonomy at the district and village levels. The first democratically elected government (1995-) has demonstrated its commitment to seriously addressing the nation’s complex problems, among other issues by establishing a policy of decentralization and undertaking civil service and local government reforms and pledging adherence to the principles of sustainable development. At the national level, this has meant the devolution of power and decision-making from central government in Dar es Salaam to the regional, district, ward and village levels is currently under way. One of the key problems has been the chronic lack of private investment in the country, with most funding for development and infrastructure originating from other sources. For example, between 1992 and 1997 Tanzania received assistance from more than 100 bilateral and multilateral donors. However, because lack of capacity at the local level was perceived as the most urgent need, most of these programmes were local level projects and, although many were excellent, lack of coordination among them was a major shortcoming. In addition, capacity building for sustainable development was not a feature of most of these programmes. In this context, one of the candidate case studies for our research is Zanzibar, which currently has 800 000 people. The economic situation in Zanzibar has changed tremendously due to the liberalization measures in general trade and business during the past few years. More private investments are being undertaken in response to the government’s dedicated efforts to mobilize and encourage private sector participation to economic activities. The Government of Zanzibar has recently given high priority to the development of public utilities and services, among them water supply and sanitation. However, projects in the sector have been developed since the late 1980s: in 1989 the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and the Government of the Republic of Finland agreed to cooperate in developing the urban water supply sector in Zanzibar, eventually producing the Zanzibar Urban Water Supply Development Plan in 1990. The Development Plan provided comprehensive institutional and technical plans for urban water supply development until year 2015. Among these, the Zanzibar Urban Water Supply Project (ZUWSP) covers improvement of water supply in Zanzibar town and nearby areas housing a total population of about 300 000 people and a projected population growth of about 3.8 % annually. In the new context, the Zanzibar Water Supply Authority is expected to reach financial self-sufficiency after 2000, including the funding of new investments, with a long-term goal of having a single authority covering urban WSS and rural water supply. Likewise in the Kenyan case and in the whole Sub-Saharan region, the extension of private involvement in WSS is still very limited in scope (see Table 1) and the prospects for further participation of private investors are still unclear.
Last updated: June 2017