Delegation of the European Union to Tanzania

Tanzania and the EU

26/10/2020 - 14:47
EU relations with Country

An overview of relations between Tanzania and the European Union

Contractual relations between the United Republic of Tanzania and the European Union (EU, then European Economic Community, EEC) were first established in 1975 with the first Lomé Convention between the EEC, its Member States and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. After the expiry of the fourth Lomé Convention, the Cotonou Agreement was concluded in 2000 for a period of 20 years. A new EU-ACP Agreement is expected to enter into force in 2021.

The Cotonou Agreement rules political, trade, economic and cooperation relations.

The Delegation of the EU (then Delegation of the European Commission) in Tanzania was established in 1991.

The EU's main objectives concerning Tanzania are to contribute to:

  • Tanzania's political and social democracy,
  • national policies towards sustainable and inclusive development of the country,
  • Tanzania's continued involvement in regional economic integration processes as well as political and security initiatives that contribute to the consolidation of peace and democracy in the region.

The EU-Tanzania partnership is founded on essential elements as provided for under article 9 of the Cotonou Agreement, in particular respect for human rights, democracy, good governance and the rule of law.

EU-Tanzania trade relations are based on the unilateral trade concession scheme known as “Everything But Arms” according to which all Tanzanian products except arms may be exported to the EU market free of any quota and of any customs duties. This special regime applies to all countries listed by the UN as Least Developed Countries.

According to the Cotonou Agreement, political dialogue between the EU and each partner country is one of the main instruments to exchange views on the internal and international developments.

Dialogue on thematic policies is also important to exchange information and to orient future and ongoing cooperation. In fact, most of this dialogue takes place between the EU Delegation and the Tanzanian line Ministries in the framework of the development cooperation or of trade issues.

Tanzania is party to most international human rights conventions and has subscribed to the essential elements of the above-mentioned Cotonou Agreement. The EU is constantly engaged in consolidating the respect for human rights and democracy internally and at the global level. Concretely, this translates into dialogues with the Tanzanian Government and in cooperation actions with the public authorities and the civil society.

EU and its Member States have a joint approach in Tanzania that aims at combining dialogue, advocacy and technical interventions within three focus areas: i) support to a more inclusive political system with particular attention to women and to freedom of expression; ii) increased and improved accountability and fight against corruption; and iii) promotion of peace and political stability.

In all interventions, particular attention is paid to the promotion of gender equality and women empowerment, as well as children’s rights.

The EU has different cooperation instruments to fund projects selected following local calls for proposals. These specifically take into account human rights priorities in Tanzania, which are defined together with the local civil society.

It also finances projects on media freedom, access to quality information and quality reporting; peace and conflict prevention; democratic and inclusive elections; challenging discrimination and violence against people living with albinism; and protecting human rights.

The EU, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, DANIDA and the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, also implements a programme on improving the effectiveness of Tanzanian anti-corruption institutions and increasing access to justice for all, particularly for women.

Cooperation is the second fundamental pillar of EU-Tanzania relations. In keeping with Tanzania’s own development agenda, EU-Tanzania cooperation has three main objectives: to reduce poverty, promote sustainable development and support integration of the country into the world economy.

Most of the EU Delegation’s funding to Tanzania originates from the European Development Fund (EDF) in the form of grants. The EDF is financed by EU Member States and supports cooperation activities in the fields of economic, social and human development, as well as regional cooperation and integration. The total financial resources of the 11th EDF worldwide amount to EUR 30.5 billion for 2014-2020.

In the framework of the 11th EDF National Indicative Programme (NIP) for Tanzania, the EU has committed EUR 547 million to three sectors: good governance and development, energy, and sustainable agriculture. For more detailed information about the projects, please refer to

Economic governance and development

The EU promotes good governance through interventions in areas as diverse as the rule of law, public finance management, and taxation.  The EU supports the Government's reforms and systems in public finance management, including domestic revenue mobilisation, the national budget process, and expenditure management. Dedicated technical assistance is provided to the oversight institutions, such as the internal auditor general and the controller auditor general.



The EU has joined forces with Tanzania to improve people's access to energy including decentralized solutions to energy supply based on renewable sources, as well as grid development and new connections in rural areas. Support has also entailed activities to strengthen capacities of key stakeholders in the sector, in rural electrification planning and policy, as well as regulatory reforms. Under the 11th EDF, focus is also on broader energy sector reforms, energy efficiency and renewable energy, and access to electricity in rural areas.

EU's support to energy efficiency contributes to ensure access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy by improving efficiency supply and consumption of energy. Likewise, it makes the sector more sustainable, gender inclusive and climate smart by strengthening the legal, regulatory and institutional framework. Rural electrification is promoted by supporting the Rural Energy Agency to improve access to reliable electricity through the extension of the transmission and distribution network.

In terms of infrastructures, support ranges from improving rural energy access through mini-hydro projects, biogas digesters and solar systems, to the development of transmission and distribution infrastructure, along with support to the Tanzania Electricity Supply Industry Reform Strategy and Roadmap. The EU is also supporting the development of capacities and skills in the extractive sector (oil and gas) and is one of the main contributors to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (T-EITI). Investment in electricity needs to be prioritised by focusing on its economic benefits and its potential to create jobs. Most energy projects that have received EU grant funding, such as small scale hydro power projects in the Southern Highlands or solar-hybrid mini-grids in Lake Victoria, aim to spur productive use of energy for job creation. Job creation is also promoted, particularly among women, through capacity building and training of professional Energy Auditors and Energy Management Specialists.

Access to modern cooking solutions is another area that receives support under the 11th EDF. While there is a significant market in Tanzania, dissemination is hampered by policy and market challenges including low affordability and lack of potential investors for establishing and up-scaling sustainable cooking fuel and improved cook stoves production. The EU funded programme has the objective of reducing dependency on charcoal by means of cross-sectoral cooperation, private sector engagement and marketing of clean cooking technologies. The new programme will be complemented by sustainable forest management and support for policy reforms and a conducive regulatory framework.

Sustainable Agriculture

The agriculture sector in Tanzania is the key driver for poverty eradication, sustainable development and employment generation. Agriculture is characterised by smallholder farming and has a high potential for further expansion in production, local value addition and export. Also, changing demographics will imply a surge in food demand and need for economies of scale in production and value chain, with implications for the job market. Firstly, 70% of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood and as a primary source of income. Secondly, agriculture provides 30% of total exports and 65% of raw materials for Tanzanian industries. The private sector is gradually investing in production, storage, processing, distribution and retailing.

The EU is a longstanding partner of Tanzania in sustainable agriculture, food and nutrition security. Cooperation over the last decade has focused on key commodities which offer opportunities for pro-poor trade at national, regional and continental level. The sector has been supported by the EU through several programmes and instruments, such as the “Trade and Agriculture Support Programme I and II”, the “Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania” initiative, the “EU Global Climate Change Alliance” initiative and the “Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol”.

Within this framework, the EU supports development of different value chains, the commercial aquaculture sector in Lake Victoria and ways to tackle malnutrition. The National Bureau of Statistics also receives support (through the World Bank) to carry out the National Agriculture Sample Census, along with National Panel Surveys and Integrated Labour Force Survey. A new flagship programme "Agri-Connect: Supporting value chains for shared prosperity" (EUR 100 million) has started in 2018. It focuses on tea, coffee and horticultural value chains. Its objective is to contribute to inclusive economic growth, increase food and nutrition security and promote private sector development and job creation in the agricultural sector in Tanzania.

Other fields also received EU support, as they form part or support the previous three focal sectors:

Private Sector Development

Bolstering private sector performance and improving job creation is central to the goal of achieving shared prosperity and eradicating extreme poverty in Tanzania. The Government of Tanzania recognises the role of the private sector as an actor of development in its development plans. This is an area in which policy dialogue between government, private sector and donors is particularly important to ensure a coordinated action. Experience in Europe has proved that the real game changer to develop economies are public and private investments.

Tanzania's second Five Year Development Plan (FYDP II) for the period 2016/2021 targets strategic priority interventions to move Tanzania to a higher economic growth trajectory coupled with a shift from an agriculture-based to an industry-based economy through the development of agro-industry value chains. Employment creation, particularly for youth and women, is a particular crosscutting target of the FYDP II.

The EU also aims at strengthening the European Economic Diplomacy (EED) agenda. Within this framework, the EU has partnered with the EU Business Group (EUBG), an independent platform for network and advocacy of the European business community operating in the country. The EUBG represents, for the EU, a new way of engaging with Tanzanian authorities and foreshadows the progressive building up of the EED. The EUBG aims at promoting and increasing business between Tanzania and the EU, to promote European business interests in Tanzania for the benefits of its members and overall to improve the ease of doing business in Tanzania. In addition, the EU in Tanzania provides support to Private Public Dialogue as a platform to address any regulatory/policy challenges that pose a risk to the business environment.

Climate change and environment

Tanzania is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, with most of the   rural population relying on rain-fed and hence climate sensitive agriculture. Strengthening resilience is crucial to ensuring sustainable socio-economic development and food and nutrition security.

A major vehicle to support climate change actions has been the “Global Climate Change Alliance” (GCCA) programme, established by the EU in 2007 to strengthen dialogue and cooperation on adaptation and mitigation, with emphasis on emission reduction from deforestation and forest degradation and disaster risk reduction. The GCCA started its work in four pilot countries, including Tanzania, and has evolved today into a EUR 300 million programme implemented in 38 countries.

The EU promotes climate action through a wide range of initiatives, from policy and institutional development supporting Tanzania to develop its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) through a project with UNDP, to community-based projects such as the eco-villages. This includes promoting innovative approaches in agriculture, livestock, water, energy and natural resource management in selected villages, such as agroforestry, rainwater harvesting, and fuel-efficient cooking stoves.

The EU has been at the forefront of wildlife conservation and in the fight against illegal wildlife trade, both domestically and globally, over the past decade. Since 2001, the EU has been the main financial supporter of the “Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants Programme”, which in Tanzania has worked in four sites: Selous/Mikumi, Ruaha/Rungwa, Katavi/Rukwa, Tarangire/Manyara.

The EU is further working on decentralised and community-based natural resource management for wildlife, forest and marine ecosystems. Supports has been provided to the development of two Wildlife Management Areas in Western Serengeti and two in Kilombero and Lower Rufiji wetlands, participatory forest management in Kilimanjaro, Manyara and Morogoro regions and fisheries co-management in the coastal belt from Dar es Salaam to Mtwara.


The EU is a key partner in providing support for Infrastructure in Tanzania, in particular in the areas of energy (see above), water and sanitation and transport.

In the areas of water and sanitation, the main objective of the EU engagement is to help achieve access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, while improving water governance and the management of water resources and infrastructures. The impact of these interventions has directly improved the living conditions of 8% of the population. Projects have been concentrated in Mwanza, Mbeya, Iringa, Lindi, Kigoma, Sumbawanga and Dar es Salaam, as well as in several rural areas.

In the transport sector, the EU supports the development of transport infrastructure, especially rural roads and regional transport corridors, and strengthens the technical and institutional capacity of authorities to define and implement effective and sustainable policies and maintenance strategies.

The EU's humanitarian assistance in Tanzania is part of a regional envelope from its humanitarian arm, ECHO, to the Great Lakes Region. Through ECHO, the EU continues to help refugees in the camps in north-western Tanzania by providing basic needs and protection services. Since 2002, the EU has provided more than EUR 60 million for repatriation and resettlement interventions in north-western Tanzania and in neighbouring Burundi.

In response to the 2015 election crisis, the EU released EUR 45.5 million in humanitarian funding to assist Burundian refugees in the region including those who had entered Tanzania. In 2020, ECHO decided to support three of the key refugee related agencies in Tanzania: WFP, Danish Refugee Council and UNHCR working primarily to ensure that the refugees’ basic needs and protection concerns are addressed.

The EU has two additional projects in this sector, one focusing specifically on refugees with disabilities and the other one on the educational needs of refugee children.

Assistance is also provided as necessary for emergencies such as flooding and out breaks of diseases.

The EU and the EAC Partner States concluded the negotiations of an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in 2014, but the agreement never entered into force because some EAC Partner States, including Tanzania, did not sign it. The EPA provides for immediate trade liberalisation of EAC exports to the EU and for a gradual liberalisation of EAC imports from the EU during a variable duration of time up to a maximum of 25 years depending on the sensitivity of the products. The agreement also provides for cooperation on trade, customs, sanitary and phytosanitary measures and rules of origin.

In the absence of EPA, the individual EAC Partner States maintain their bilateral trade arrangements with the EU.

For more information about EU-EAC trade, please refer to

The EU Delegation in Tanzania is also accredited to the East African Community (EAC)

The European Union has accompanied the regional integration process in East Africa from the beginning of the Lomé Convention and has provided significant support to EAC over the years. In addition, some EU member states support EAC institutions as well.

In 2019, the EU 28 represented the second import trading partner and export destination, in the recent years. The EU has also been one of the main sources of FDI for the EAC region.

The EU's cooperation has mainly focused on regional economic integration through a support to the EAC Common Market and Custom market. The Markup programme ( aims to increase export of agribusiness, promote regional value chains and facilitate access to the European Market.

With the “regional electoral Support programme” and the “joint response to cross borders and regional security threats” under the 11th EDF, the EU has also increased its engagement in the political and security dimension of EAC

To improve the quality of inland water quality in the EAC region, support under the 11th EDF focuses on construction of wastewater treatment facilities and improvement of sanitation and water supply, as well as enforcement and monitoring of regional aquaculture and water release policies.

The European Investment Bank is the lending arm of the European Union. It is the biggest multilateral financial institution in the world and one of the largest providers of climate finance.

Since its establishment in 1958, the EU bank has invested over a trillion euros. While climate action is a part of any project, its activities focus on the following priority areas: climate and environment, development, innovation and skills, small and medium-sized businesses, infrastructure and cohesion.

The EIB works closely with the EU Delegation to support EU policies, in particular its development policy, in over 140 countries around the world.

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