Implementing the 2030 Agenda in Tanzania: towards a participatory, inclusive and knowledge-driven agenda

In Tanzania, the national planning horizon coincided with the start of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In order to facilitate the implementation of SDGs in Tanzania, the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) and the Ministry of Finance coordinated a brainstorming process to discuss requirements for a succesful implementation, like the involvement of local actors, mobilization of funding and investments in capacities for monitoring and evaluation.

In Tanzania, the national planning horizon coincided with the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the start of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In order to facilitate the implementation of SDGs in Tanzania, the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF), in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Poverty Eradication Division, and with support from United National Development Program, coordinated a brainstorming process to discuss the implementation of SDGs in Tanzania. This was done with an understanding that successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Tanzania requires the involvement of local actors, mobilization of funding beyond ODA and investments in capacities for monitoring and evaluation.

Involvement of Local Government Authorities is key

The SDGs are a broad agenda that reflects a global consensus of high aspiration, based on a fine political balance. The goals have to be implemented through country-led initiatives instead of a global scheme, as was the case for the MDGs. Tanzania’s experience from the MDGs show that awareness was mostly at the national level and little was done at the sub-national level. This is despite the fact that, in Tanzania, although planning of national development frameworks is usually done at the national level, implementation is often through local government authorities.

As such, a concrete SDG localisation process must be participatory, consultative and interactive in nature; targets and indicators need to be adapted to the Tanzanian context and aligned with community-level planning, prioritisation and decision-making, as this is the foundation for long-lasting ownership. Also, the localisation process is to integrate the SDGs not only into national strategies, the local governments’ development plans and monitoring frameworks – but also into strategic frameworks of, inter alia, NGOs, traditional development partners, faith-based organisations and private companies. Furthermore, although a national communication strategy is important, it is important to be mindful of local contexts. For instance, “ending extreme poverty in one community might require a focus on education whilst in another community, the need might be in nutrition.” This means that communication must be context specific and not a one size fits all approach.

Financing of Sustainable Development Goals

Raising the financial resources required to implement SDGs is going to be a tough undertaking for Tanzania and most developing countries. External actors can help by identifying ways in which ODA can be used as a catalytic investment to unlock private sector investment to be used in financing SDG implementation. Also, external actors can work together with local knowledge centres such as ESRF in Tanzania to identify and pilot innovative financing instruments. Such cooperation with local knowledge centres can drive investment and support SDG interventions learning from best practices, whilst remaining grounded in local contexts. This should be done by engaging key development actors, including governments, civil society, philanthropic organizations, entrepreneurs, institutional investors, banks, project developers and development finance institutions.

There is also a tremendous opportunity to support governments across the continent that have undertaken measures to combat illicit financial flows, strengthen tax administrations, harness remittances all of which will widen the fiscal space and allow for more financing for SDGs.

More resources for monitoring and evaluation needed

It is easy to be overwhelmed with 169 targets, if you don’t have proper statistical systems, which a lot of African countries don’t. Tanzania and other African countries need to assess their respective existing national data collection systems. They need to identify the gaps related to their SDG implementation capacity in terms of knowledge, tools, and (financial) instruments.
Also, because SDGs put a great emphasis on the quality of service delivery, it is imperative to identify ways in which monitoring and evaluation of the quality of indicators will be conducted, alongside identifying the responsible institutions for monitoring the quality of service delivery.

External actors can be very helpful in building the capacity of national statistical bureaus in monitoring SDGs. They should support statistical bureaus in identifying and addressing the needs and in disaggregating the data by region, gender and age to ensure that “nobody is left behind”. In addition, external actors must work with local institutions and especially think tanks in identifying and financing research that can help the monitoring process and fill the gaps that cannot be addressed by the national monitoring and evaluation masterplan. This is especially important because of the interlinking nature of the SDG goals and targets. Tanzania must further reflect on how best to monitor such goals and targets.

Image: Tausi Kida

Dr. Tausi Mbaga Kida is the Executive Director of Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF), a Policy Think Tank based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She holds a PhD in Development Economics from Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She also holds MA and BA Degrees in Economics from University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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