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Embassy of Tanzania, DC




In recent years the world has experienced emerging trends that are driving changes and transitions to create a much smaller and interconnected world. Trends such as technology growth, media explosion and globalization have presented an opportunity for a paradigm shift, where citizens can directly hold their leaders accountable, such that leaders across the world must adopt into new forms of political leadership styles concomitant to these trends.

General elections across the world have become highly competitive bringing up leaders who are more pragmatic, enthusiastic and ready to transform their nations first and then the world. Super powers such as United States of America and People’s Republic of China have come up with policies such as America First and One China Policy bearing in mind that leader’s ambitions to succeed in making changes and transforming the lives of their people comes first before winning the hearts and minds of those around the world.

Tanzania is not an island hence not a stranger to this current supposition of international politics and leadership. This new era of leadership in the world and Africa in particular, ushered Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, the fifth phase President of the United Republic of Tanzania, who was elected towards the end of 2015.

After being sworn in as the fifth president of Tanzania, President Magufuli has succeeded to undertake reforms and institutionalise them in an effort to transform the country in order to fulfil that ambition of global leaders to transform their communities first, for the case of Tanzania lifting the poor from extreme poverty. A management and leadership professor at the London Business School Lynda Gratton (2017) explains the inner path to leadership that all great transformational leaders must possess. She articulates it as the journey to create and identify within leaders a deep sense of values and the courage to act on those values; in other words a narrative that is unique to only them. Values of these leaders coupled with a conviction and determination to focus on transformation within their societies is what distinguishes them as average leaders. This is what President Magufuli established as the newly elected President of the United Republic of Tanzania.

Just like other transformational leaders, President Magufuli has accumulated much praises as well as criticism from all corners of the world as well as internally within Tanzania. On a positive note, his hands-on leadership style to implement and accomplish promised tasks promptly, has earned him much praise within the country and in Africa at large. On the other hand, his courage to wage a war on corruption, drugs, tax avoiders, poaching activities and many more within Tanzania and globally have opened a door for critics to retaliate and fight back with direct attacks to President Magufuli consequently painting a bad picture about Tanzania as a country and the direction it has taken.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation is of the view that the success stories of the country under the able-leadership of President Magufuli should be told not just within the country but outside the country as well. Reforms that have been proposed and the recorded success can be explained by Tanzanian diplomats across the world in an effort to proactively “tell our own success stories in our own way”. The following paper therefore has been prepared for this initiative, whereby diplomats may revise and customise it taking into consideration their areas of representation and geographical location.


The United Republic of Tanzania was formed in 1964 following the union between the erstwhile Republic of Tanganyika and the Peoples Republic of Zanzibar. Popularly known as Tanzania, the country is located in East Africa along the eastern shores of the Indian Ocean. With a population of 55 million, Tanzania is strategically surrounded by more than eight countries most of them landlocked.

Politically, Tanzania has enjoyed political stability and smooth transition of power; it is numero uno in the region and in Africa. Tanzania’s stability is contributed to by a strong socio-political foundation laid down by its founding fathers Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere and Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume. Unlike many other African countries, Tanzania has been holding regular general elections from its formation in 1964. After adopting the multiparty system in 1992, the country has held elections every five years. The most recent general elections were held in 2015; Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli emerged a winner in historically most competitive election within the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and at the national level.

In his two years of presidency, Dr. Magufuli has made domestic and international headlines for his rigorous measures to instil a culture of working hard, corruption intolerance as well as wasteful spending. This unique disposition asserted him as one of the first class leaders in a developing country winning an international attention and admiration.

In this document, an attempt is made to first take stock and highlight key achievements made by Tanzania under the leadership of President John Magufuli. It also intends to provide information on reforms made specifically on policies and laws which are necessary for furthering political and social-economic development of the country. These two components are presented together in one section of this paper. The second section intends to clarify some misconceptions and misinterpretations of various measures taken by the government in the process of implementing various reforms.

Before looking at achievements made by President Magufuli in the last two years of his leadership in Tanzania, it is important to glance on two aspects which may bring out clear understanding of measures taken as well as their success rate. The first aspect is the status of the nation and challenges facing Tanzania when President Magufuli won elections in 2015. The second aspect is the leadership style and philosophy of President Magufuli, which both aspects have contributed to Tanzania’s success story to date.

In spite of impressive strides made by previous regimes (First Phase Government – Mwalimu Nyerere; Second Phase Government – Alhaj Ali Hassan Mwinyi; Third Phase Government – Benjamin William Mkapa and Fourth Phase Government – Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete), a number of challenges still exist in Tanzania. Such challenges include high levels of poverty, unemployment, inefficient civil service, corruption, bureaucracy and red tapism among government officials and ineffective management of both public funds and natural wealth.

In his maiden speech to the public, at the inauguration of Parliament, President Magufuli identified strategies to address the above-mentioned challenges. Recognizing achievements recorded by previous administrations, he stipulated that his government would continue to implement macro-economic and social policies that have managed to sustain the country’s economic growth at impressive seven percent. On international agenda, he underscored the importance of prioritizing economic diplomacy and regional integration. President Magufuli promised to constructively engage with development partners, nations and international organizations to keep the good record of his predecessors.

President Magufuli also promised to instil a discipline in the management of public funds, restricting unnecessary travels abroad as well as ensuring services rendered by civil servants reflect his leadership style and spirit of Hapa Kazi Tu.

Apart from identifying challenges facing Tanzania and how to address them, when he assumed leadership of the country, President Magufuli was celebrated by many in the country as a reformist, and result-oriented president. His leadership style portrays devotion to work, close scrutiny of plans and proposals, close follow up of decisions, programs and implementation of plans.

Reputed as a man of action, Dr. Magufuli, a PhD holder in Chemistry, held various positions in government, including Member of Parliament, Deputy Minister and a full cabinet Minister in different portfolios for 20 years consecutively. His post of Minister for Works, earned him a nickname “bulldozer” for being bold in steering the construction of mega road projects in the country. He was also known to be a no-nonsense, results-driven politician displaying great integrity by not succumbing to bribery conducts or misuse of public funds in his position as a Minister.

Like Mwalimu Nyerere, Dr. Magufuli’s philosophy is grounded in the belief that development should be people-centred. He believes in self-reliance which begins with the ability of people to work for themselves and earn a living. This has enabled him to mobilize national wealth in order to finance major development projects such as Standard Gauge Railway, Stigler’s Gorge for power and other mega infrastructural projects, without external assistance. His popular slogan of “Hapa Kazi Tu” encourages the citizenry to work hard for the country in order to realize its target of becoming a middle-income country by 2025. The slogan of Hapa Kazi Tu, does not just rally people behind the president’s agenda but also it rallies them towards a shared vision of transforming the country, lifting the poor in the country out of poverty.

President Magufuli also believes in the role of both the public and private sector in contributing to development. However, he envisions a non-corrupt and genuine private sector – one that contributes to the development of Tanzania in a win-win modality. He views industrialization as the propeller of the economic growth, creating linkages between key sectors of the economy such as agriculture and services. President Magufuli also understands that natural resources of the country belong to the people and must first benefit Tanzanians.

President Magufuli’s leadership style, philosophy and his approach towards leadership is not only a game changer in Tanzania but also in Africa and has raised the bar so high that citizens of other countries have demanded “their own Magufuli” in their general elections.

During the first few months of his leadership, and even now, several newspapers and online articles were written in different languages but all seemingly singing praise for the emerging leader, Magufuli the Bulldozer. In the social media sphere, commentators celebrated his zeal playfully with the hash tag, “#WhatWouldMagufuliDo”


The overarching objective of President Magufuli’s administration is to implement measures geared towards unleashing the country’s growth potential. Specifically, the President is aiming at addressing infrastructural bottlenecks particularly energy, ports, roads, and railways; increasing the pool of skilled labour through education; advancing science and technology and innovations as well as information and communication technology; improving the general business environment; enhancing productivity in agriculture; making the country the best investment and tourist destination choice and preserving peace and stability.

Given the above accomplishments, specific highlights listed bellow demonstrate implementation of the reforms taken by the government to address some of the key challenges the country had faced.

  1. Reform of the Public Service
  2. Major challenges addressed by President Magufuli’s administration earlier on in the public services sector were the existence of ghost workers, forged certificates and the laissez-faire style in public service delivery. The public service machinery was largely affected by the lackadaisical civil servants, who were largely unaccountable in their jobs. President Magufuli’s administration undertook an exercise to verify public servants, which uncovered the existence of 10,295 ghost workers and 9,932 civil servants with questionable credentials. These challenges tremendously impaired the civil services which in turn affected the performance and service delivery of the government. The ghost workers and civil servants with questionable credentials were immediately expelled and replaced with merited employees. The newly elected President’s vision is to ensure that Tanzania has a public service with merited employees who are effective and efficient in the delivery of services.

  3. Proper Management of Public Funds
  4. When President Magufuli assumed office, there were widespread misuse and embezzlement of public funds, which was justified with unnecessary and at times overstuffed trips abroad by civil servants and political officials. Reports from the Bank of Tanzania shows that the country saved $429.5 million (TZS. 902 billion) from foreign travel in the 12 months period between November 2015 to November 2016. This saving significantly reduced government spending in travel expenses is a result of President Magufuli’s instructions to limit foreign travel by government officials.
    Another area that guzzled public funds by unscrupulous public officials is through procurement, which was facilitated by the relevant act. As such, President Magufuli ordered an immediate review of the Public Procurement Act, 2004 to ensure that any procurement meets and reflects the prevailing market prices. Currently, the act provides an opportunity for government to enjoy benefits such as bulky procurement from use of standardized requirements, minimize corruption loopholes and increase accountability as well as minimizing procurement transaction costs and processing time.
    Public funds were also being embezzled through payment of salaries to ghost workers. The financial audit in 2017 shows that ghost workers were paid $65 million (around TZS 139 billion) annually, money that could have been used for other developmental plans. Moreover, payment of non-existent debts and inflated budgets for public ceremonies contributed to the embezzlement factor. Dr. John Magufuli noted with concern that these funds could have been directed to other developmental projects such as improvement of infrastructure and quality of social services. As such, it is his vision to see a country that adheres to proper management of public funds.

  5. War against Corruption
  6. Just like any other country in the world and specifically in Africa, corruption tendencies cripple the society and deny people the opportunity to develop. The World Bank indicates that with corruption, people especially the poor in the society get hurt when resources are wasted through corruption.

    In Tanzania, corruption scandals were a recurring feature in the political landscape. Grand corruption cases in public finances implicated some senior politicians, high ranking government officials and even multinational companies. President Magufuli once said that some of public offices were run on the basis of dishonest deals and transactions that denied the country its lawful revenue. He promised to act; and eventually after assuming office he took serious measures to curb corruption, including dismissing top government officials who were implicated in corruption scandals, while others were prosecuted.

    Other institutional measure taken includes establishing an Economic, Corruption and Organized Crime Court dedicated to those who are implicated in grand corruption scandals. It is the commitment of the President, to see a corruption-free Tanzania characterized by efficient civil service, delivering first-class services to the people.

  7. Effective Management of Natural Resources
  8. Despite being endowed with ample natural resources and wealth such as minerals, gas, gemstones, national parks, arable land, water bodies and forests, the country has not yet benefitted fully from such endowment. For instance, Tanzania is one of the top four mineral-rich countries in Africa. Tanzania is blessed with variety of industrial minerals and precious metals and gemstones; iron ore, soda ash, coal, clay soil, uranium, gold, diamond and tanzanite. However, the country has witnessed a continuous plunder of national wealth, which affects the quest for development. In addition, the mineral sector is not benefitting much because of unprofitable mining contracts and common tendencies of tax aversion. In national parks, surge of poaching threatens the extinction of wild animals, decreasing number of elephants significantly. Henceforth, Tanzania was in the blink of experiencing the paradox of plenty.

    President Magufuli vowed to address this predicament right after he was elected into presidency. His genuine efforts on this front aim at ensuring that the country gets a reasonable share of revenues from its natural wealth. As such, several measures have been taken including review of the mining laws, to ensure that future contracts are beneficial to the country. President Magufuli has already signed into law new mining bill, which require the government to own at least 16 percent stake in mining projects in the country. The law also increase royalties from 4 to 6 percent on gold and other minerals.

    Still on the mining front, the most widely acclaimed measure is probably the creation of two presidential committees of inquiry into the mineral sector. The first was created to investigate the loss of government revenues from gold mining activities in the country since 1998. The second committee sought to investigate the value additional contents of copper concentrates which is exported out of the country for smelting purposes. This report, commonly known in Swahili as Ripoti ya Makinikia exposed valuable large amounts of undeclared mineral contents. Containers of residue were sampled from three different mines in North Mara, Bulyanhulu, and Buzwagi, all located in north-west Tanzania; owned by Acacia a subsidiary company of Barrick Gold Cooperation.

    As a result, a team of representatives from Barrick Gold and those from the Government of Tanzania conducted a thorough investigation followed by a series of negotiations and eventually came up with an agreement for Barrick Gold to pay, in good faith, USD 300 million to the Government of Tanzania; to share with the government the profit of company’s activities in the country by half, that is 50% each side; and lastly the government of Tanzania to own 16% of stocks in all the mines owned by the company. It is for this reason that majority of patriots and other well-wishers outside Tanzania commend the President’s effort in this profitable endowment, geared towards lifting the livelihood of Tanzanians under the principle of win-win.

  9. Striving to build an Industrial Economy
  10. President Magufuli’s administration’s policy thrust is directed towards industrialization. It is important for Tanzania’s partners to note that the thrust is based on the implementation of the Second Five Year Development Plan 2016/17-2020/21, as a component of the Long Term Perspective Plan 2011/12-2025/26. The government has taken the role of creating conducive environment for industrialization. Measures have been taken such as reforming the regulatory bodies that deal with licensing, taxation, market access as well as accessibility of key productive resources such as land. As noted earlier, President Magufuli believes in the private sector as it contributes to employment creation, economic growth and revenue collection. Creating a conducive environment for trade and investments and improving relations between the state and the private sector are the top priorities of his administration. For example, in his two years in office, President Magufuli has had four dialogues with the private sector, more than any other president before him.

    Moreover, the fifth phase government recognizes the centrality of electric power in furthering the industrialization agenda. Notably, therefore, the government has embarked on several mega power projects in the country. Currently the country is investing in power generation plants that will amount to generating 5,000 MW. This includes pursuing the Stigler’s Gorge hydroelectric project, which is expected to generate about 2,100 MW. This project is envisaged to tap other multifaceted advantages associated with the construction of hydropower plant while preserving the environment and the ecosystem of area.

  11. Improvement of Infrastructures
  12. Transportation of goods especially agricultural goods from the rural areas to the markets has been the biggest challenge for Tanzania farmers who constitute the majority of the work force. Moreover, in major cities, transporting workforce to and from work places has been a challenge costing the country time and money. A general assessment shows that Tanzania is incurring loss both financially and time wise when they are stuck in the traffic jams in the city. Congested roads and poor road networks that lack basic infrastructure have been an obstacle to development.

    Realizing this challenge, the fifth phase government under the leadership of President Magufuli promised to improve infrastructure and transport facilities to boost the growth of the economy. Advantages of such improvements include transportation of agricultural and industrial goods as well as movements of the people. Efforts are underway to improve infrastructures such as roads, ports and air transport. Major investments are also implemented in the construction of rural roads connecting the countryside to urban areas.

    The government has also expanded the city rapid bus system in the commercial capital of Dar es Salaam with the launch of first phase of Dar Rapid Transport, famously known in Swahili as Mwendo Kasi. The ongoing construction of the TAZARA interchange flyover, Nyerere Bridge connecting city centre and Kigamboni area across the ocean, and many more; are aiming at easing the flow of traffic. Just recently, President Magufuli launched a mega project in the history of the country, where a Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is being constructed in phases from Dar es Salaam to the shores of Lake Victoria (1,219 KM). Upon its completion this railway is envisaged to connect Tanzania and Rwanda.

    Building on the previous administrations, the fifth phase administration has also revived air Tanzania, allowing it to launch new local and international routes with the view to support Tanzania’s robust and attractive tourist sector.

  13. Increased Visibility and Engagement with the World
  14. Although great efforts were invested in the international engagements by the previous administrations before him, President Magufuli made a conscious decision to first address internal challenges. Aware of the fact that Tanzania would not cooperate at equal footing with her peers if major systemic issues inside the country are going astray. President Magufuli is an active player in Tanzania’s diplomacy. As the country’s number one diplomat, he understands that foreign policy is an important extension of domestic policies. Therefore his strategic decision to focus on internal challenges upon assuming the office, gave him a moral authority to be a credible voice and a champion of internal management of affairs of the country to the outside world. Currently, President Magufuli maintains constant constructive engagement with foreign partners, spearheading regional integration efforts and pragmatically asserts Tanzania’s voice in global agendas such as UN reforms, climate change, war on terror and many more.

    Within two years of his leadership, the heads of state and governments who have visited Tanzania include: President of Vietnam, Prime Minister of India, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, King of Morocco, President of Egypt, President of DRC, President of Zambia, President of Kenya, President of Rwanda, President of Uganda, President of South Sudan, President of South Africa, President of Mozambique, President of Chad, President of Burundi and President of Turkey.

    On the other side, several heads of international institutions have also visited Tanzania, these include: UN Secretary General, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, World Bank President, Vice President of the African Development Bank, and Director Generals of UNFPA, UNIDO, UNEP, FAO and UNAIDS. The above list of high level visitors reflects some of President Magufuli credit score on Foreign Policy successes. He has always been on the forefront sharing his tactics with his fellow African leaders to walk the talk in order to serve their citizens effectively.

  15. Improving Social Welfare of the People
  16. Dr. Magufuli identifies himself as a pro-poor President. Henceforth, all the above efforts and impeccable achievements recorded within the first two years of his presidency were aimed at improving the people’s social welfare. When civil service delivery is effective, public funds are properly managed, corruption is curtailed, infrastructures are improved, and natural wealth is properly managed, it is Tanzanians who will reap the benefits. Tanzania envisions a transformation into a middle-income country that will witness not only impressive economic growth measured in terms of GDP but also high quality of life to her people. The fifth phase government under the leadership of President Magufuli seeks to reduce the number of people who are languishing in poverty, and reduce illiteracy rate by ensuring that primary school pupils and secondary school students are studying for free.

    The fifth phase government has also taken several measures geared towards boasting agricultural sector which is the backbone of the economy and main employer in Tanzania. Most notable measures are redistributing undeveloped farms to small-scale farmers and providing them with subsidized fertilizers. To ensure that the agricultural sector benefits the farmers, President Magufuli’s government is committed to seek markets for the crops within and outside the country. Farmers and in particular small-scale farmers praised the decision of the government to put a ban on crops levy to transported crops of not more than one tone.

    On the education sector, commencing January 2016 primary school education as well as ordinary level of secondary education is provided for free in public schools. President Magufuli’s government remits 23 billion shillings every month to cover the costs of free education across the country. The government has also ensured that teaching and learning materials are available including laboratories, books, desks, etc. Moreover, reimbursement of more funds and restructuring of the Higher Education Student Loan Board has provided an opportunity for more students to access university education than any other time in the history of the country. All of the above reforms that are implemented in the country made several positive impacts in the country. Recent reforms on corruption have made the investment and business environment more favourable.

    Generally, these reforms have led to a more favourable investment and business environment in the country for both local and foreign investors. Moreover, the reforms have boosted domestic productivity with a long term view of lessening Tanzania’s donor dependency. The new laws that have been enacted are not only increasing the state shares and profit in the mining sector but have also given the government an opportunity to renegotiate some contracts in order to create a win-win situation in the investments. Finally, the reforms have increased Government revenue, to help the country undertake mega projects and provision of social services necessary for the welfare of the people and prosperity of the private sector.


It is beyond any reasonable doubt that a foundation of success has been laid down in the two-year leadership of the fifth phase administration under President John Magufuli. His government has implemented the national vision earnestly and endeavors to do more each passing day in the spirit of Hapa Kazi Tu!. It is also imperative to admit that however, many challenges still lie ahead and more efforts are still needed to get Tanzania to where it is supposed to be economically. President Magufuli’s government is committed to stay on course in reaching the desired destination for the country.
Despite the commitment of the government and efforts that are already in place, some still view challenges ahead as poor performance on the part of the government. More so, there have been a few misconceptions that cloud measures taken by President Magufuli’s government thus far that are worth of clarification:
On the economic front, there are those who erroneously think that the government is unfriendly to the investors. The investment climate in the country suggests a different story. According to the RMB (2016/2017) corporate investment report, Tanzania ranks 9th out of 54 African countries in investment attractiveness. This attractiveness is a result of deliberate measures taken by the government to create conducive environment and offering incentives to both local and foreign investors. According to the current investment climate report of African Development Bank, Tanzania is leading with impressive growth rate of 6.8 percent. Although the country has dropped for a few points, it is still the leading country in terms of growth of the economy in the East Africa region.
The government through its investment centre is committed with a clear mandate and incentives to ensure investors understand the environment and are coordinated to ensure successful investment programs. Tanzania Investment Centre’s mission is to contribute to the sustainable economic development of Tanzania through attraction of new investment and maximizing its impact to the economy. Moreover, Tanzania is giving foreign investors a legal and political assurance by being an active member of the World Bank Foreign Investment Insurance wing, MIGA (Multilateral Investment Guarantees Agency) and a member of The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), which is also a body affiliated to the World Bank. Given the above explanations, any genuine investor will be keen to invest in such a country and the government is committed to work with such an investor in making sure that there is a win-win outcome for both.
On the political and good governance front, there are unfounded misconceptions that the current regime is intolerant of political dissent and is curtailing freedom of speech and that of the media. The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania is governed by the Rule of Law in compliance with the constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, which contains a Bill of Rights. Freedom of expression and the right to seek, receive and disseminate information are clearly provided by Article 18 of the constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977.
Further, the Government has always been appreciative of the role played by Civil Society in complementing government’s efforts in promoting and protecting human rights and contributes towards its development efforts. It suffices to say that restrictions placed are only when media freedom encroach the rights of others and when their activities including those of Civil Society Organizations are in contravention to the laws of the land. This is not a situation unique to the United Republic of Tanzania.
The government is not adverse to criticism be it constructive or destructive, from its supporters or from its opposition. This is in consideration of the right to freedom of opinion and expression of one’s ideas articulated in the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania. Any arrest made by the relevant authority is only in respect of commission of crimes clearly defined in the statutes.


The overarching objective of President Magufuli’s administration is to implement measures geared towards unleashing the country’s growth potential. Specifically, the President is aiming at addressing infrastructural bottlenecks particularly energy, ports, roads, and railways; increasing the pool of skilled labor through education; advancing science and technology and innovations as well as information and communication technology; improving the general business environment; enhancing productivity in agriculture; making the country the best investment and tourist destination choice and preserving peace and stability.
The government of Tanzania under the leadership of President Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, reaffirms its commitment to creating politically sound policies, macro-economic stability to ensure a win-win business environment for both local and foreign investors. To this end, the fifth phase administration will do anything needed to make Tanzania a middle income country with improved quality of life, including carrying out reforms that will increase the confidence of our Development partners because their money is in safe hands.
Finally, Tanzania remains a unique tourist destination with many exceptional tourist attractions. It is the land of Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain and the roof of Africa; Ngorongoro crater, which is the world’s largest caldera; Olduvai Gorge, the cradle of mankind, formed 30,000 years ago; Serengeti National Park, renown for the largest single movement of wildebeests and zebras in the world; and the spice isles of Zanzibar. Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro and the Serengeti migrations are regarded as three of the Seven Wonders of the World.