Our latest diagnostic exercise provides the first steps to building a comprehensive analytical framework that identifies institutional constraints to growth.

EDI researchers have completed their first comprehensive study that aims to generate a new approach to overcoming barriers to institutional change and improving people’s lives. The study provides a first step to equipping policymakers in Tanzania with a new and comprehensive analysis that will aid in the development of effective institutional reforms to support inclusive, sustainable economic growth. It also represents the first stage in the development of a country institutional diagnostic toolkit which can be applied for enriching understanding the relationship between institutions and economic development.

The Tanzania Institutional Diagnostic, is a new publication based on a systematic and holistic study into the institutional environment of Tanzania and how it operates. The research reveals a “chain of causality” between five basic areas of institutional weakness in Tanzania and their “proximate causes”, such as lack of administrative capacity or misaligned incentives, which are themselves the result of “deep factors”, such as political, social or ideological power structures. The extensive analysis leads to the recommendation of two key principles that should be established to guide the development of policies and reforms most able to foster positive institutional change.

Francois Bourguignon, lead investigator for the research, said:

“As a diagnostic tool, this report attempts to go beyond identifying the symptoms of institutional weakness to uncover the causes behind them and possible remedies for positive change. It’s important because a new conceptual framework is emerging that will be of real, practical use to policymakers trying to identify strategies for reform.”

Most identified instances of institutional challenges in the way the Tanzanian economy functions turn out to result from a small number of fundamental governance deficiencies. The report provides reflection on ways to remedy such challenges while taking duly into account the political economy context, including the structure of political power.

In conclusion, the report authors outline two key recommendations, or principles, to guide the way to approach reform of the legal and administrative apparatus in Tanzania:

  1. Allow for more competition and market mechanisms within the economy and the way it is managed
  2. Ensure continuous rigorous and transparent evaluation of the functioning of the public sector at all administrative levels

While these principles are consistent with general recommendations for approaches to economic growth, the diagnostic explains how they are related (through a causality chain) to other institutional weaknesses in Tanzania, thereby bringing deeper insights into the processes of institutional change. It is hoped that these reflections and conclusions will be of some help for conducting policy in Tanzania, and bringing about the institutional reforms required for inclusive, sustainable and prosperous growth to the country.

Tanzania Institutional Diagnostic – further information and resources