Though Tanzania faces unique and arduous hurdles in the way of a green economy transformation, the country is rich in resources and has seemingly endless potential to produce and export green value-added products.
Tanzania is well on its way to transforming its economy into one that embraces and utilizes green practices. The country is known in the international green arena for its policies and initiatives being implemented by both the public and private actors. The country’s green economy efforts reach many sectors, including agriculture, fishing, mining, and nearly all other industries.
In May 2017, the government allotted the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries a budget of over TZS265 billion for the fiscal year. The ministry plans to spend some TZS156 billion developing green practices to ensure and promote the country’s sustainable fishing industry. The budget will also help provide commercial vessels that can better work toward achieving the goals, and, more importantly, toward fighting illegal fishing, which poses a serious threat to the sustainability of fisheries.
Tanzania is covered in part by a rich, dense forest. From the Tanzanian forests come the country’s primary sources of water, but as the country’s population grows, communities and industries are relying increasingly on resources from the forest. With only small portions of the country aware of the necessity of sustainable forestry practices, the government and several international groups are working to spread awareness of the importance of a healthy forest and how to maintain it.
Along with conservation organization Bird Life, government authorities recently audited schools throughout the country, helping them improve their water conservation techniques. Additionally, the Tanzanian River Basin Board For The Wami And Ruvu Rivers (WAMIRUVU) recently established a Payment for Watershed Service Scheme, which it hopes will help farmers improve agricultural methods to enhance water quality downstream. WAMIRUVU hydrologist John Kassambili said, “WAMIRUVU recognizes the vital contribution the Uluguru Mountains make to the green economy of Tanzania through the provision of water. We hope the project will encourage the government to fulfill its commitments to developing a green economy by producing regulations for Payment for Ecosystem Services schemes at the national level.”
Though the country is on the right track, it faces unique challenges that will require solutions not yet applied elsewhere. Dar es Salaam is the third-fastest growing city in Africa and the seventh in the world; it is also the 12th dirtiest city in the world. The amounts of waste in the city are significant—they can cause flooding and, more importantly, increase the number of vectors that can spread diseases, like cholera and malaria. According to Matthew Haden, the founder and CEO of The Recycler, people have started to take notice.
The Recycler, one of the country’s first full-service recycling and waste management companies, works with the country’s massive network of informal waste collectors. “Across the globe, only 5% of plastic is recycled; however, in Dar es Salaam and Tanzania, almost 100% of plastic bottles are recycled,” Haden told TBY. “Therefore, by scaling informal collectors, allowing them to collect more material and more efficiently, we will be able to make a big difference to the recycling proposition in Tanzania.”
While most of the plastic collected in the country currently is exported to other countries where value is added, local value-added operations are starting to take off. Some local companies are using recycled plastic to make plastic filament for 3D printers, a product that is in high demand. There are options within the country’s massive agriculture sector as well. Tanzania produces large amounts of fruit juices, but the byproducts, the pulp and rinds, which number in the hundreds of tons, end up in the landfill, where they release methane. The country is looking into utilizing a native fly that can consume immense amounts of such waste and transform it into waste high in protein, which in turn can be used by cattle rearers.