Tanzania cherishes economic strides

ZANZIBAR: TANZANIA has touted major successes in anti-poverty and development drives, while commending the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) for its support in the country, which has lifted millions of people out of poverty and driven transformative change.

Speaking at the opening of the mid-term review of the IDA 20th replenishment totaling 93 billion US dollars here, Zanzibar President Dr Hussein Mwinyi said the IDA support had increased substantially to cover areas including electricity, water and sanitation, education, health and urban planning.

“We appreciate IDA’s support in transforming Tanzania’s socio-economic landscape. IDA’s portfolio has grown substantially and covers every sector and region in Tanzania, including Zanzibar,” said Dr Mwinyi at the opening session of the three-day mid-term review to evaluate the implementation and delivery of the 20th IDA financing round (IDA20), which has raised 93 billion US dollars to support poor countries.

He said at the three-day MTR meeting, which has drawn together over 300 participants including IDA donors and borrower representatives, that IDA’s 200 million US dollars support to Rural Electrification Programme helped Tanzania to achieve one of the fastest access expansion rates in Africa over the past decade.

Though initially targeting 2.5 million people, since 2017 Tanzania has ensured access to electricity for more than 4.5 million people, as well as rural hospitals and schools, he said.

He said expansion to electricity services had created employment and business opportunities, and improved outcomes for students in remote areas.

“This programme was so impactful that it attracted additional financing of 335 million US dollars to help realise even better outcomes for rural communities,” he said.

In the water sector, in less than five years, the 300 million US dollars support package for the Sustainable Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme facilitated accessibility of water to over 4.7 million people, around half of whom are women.

The Programme further improved access to sanitation facilities for around 6.6 million people, 1,904 healthcare facilities and 1,095 primary schools, he said.

President Mwinyi further said IDA 20th financing round supported Zanzibar Urban Services Project (ZUSP) with financing amounting to 93 million US dollars to improve access to urban services and conserve this physical cultural heritage.

Among other things, the project rehabilitated a 340-meter stretch of the Mizingani sea wall at Stone Town, which was then at risk of collapse and disrupting ferry transport for trade and tourists, he said.

The project also upgraded Stone Town’s main road, and created a lively and vibrant public space for residents and visitors alike.

President Mwinyi said Tanzania has prioritised increased investment in education, health and other social services, as well as climate smart agriculture.

“We believe, with sustainable practices and inclusive policies, we can build a more robust and equitable foundation for people and the environment,” he said.

The World Bank President, Ajay Banga, called on members to make the next replenishment of the lender’s fund for the world’s poorest countries the largest ever, warning that the International Development Association (IDA) was being pushed to its limits by increasing demands.

Mr Banga told World Bank shareholders, donor countries and philanthropies that they needed to dig deeper to help IDA deliver better development outcomes to low-income countries.

“The truth is we are pushing the limits of this important concessional resource and no amount of creative financial engineering will compensate for the fact that we need more funding,” he said.

He also said the World Bank needs to revamp how it evaluates its performance to focus on improved outcomes, not numbers of projects or dollars disbursed. That means moving towards platforms that can be replicated, such as an IDA-financed mini-grid that delivers electricity to rural communities in Nigeria.

“But this is just one example, I want to see 100,000 – 200,000 – half a million more,” he said, adding that IDA was investing 5 billion US dollars to deliver affordable renewable electricity to 100 million Africans before 2030.

He launched a campaign for subsequent funding to exceed the 93 billion US dollars of the 20th IDA financing round which is due to be completed in June 2025.

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