European Union External Action

Tanzania and the EU

17/05/2016 - 15:47
EU relations with Country

An overview of relations between Tanzania and the European Union

The Tanzania and EU have a long standing partnership aimed at promoting the sustainable and inclusive development of the country. Political and sectoral policy dialogues underpin development assistance and provide venues for discussing respective policy priorities and reform agendas. 

EU-Tanzania relations have evolved around historical links and decades-long traditions of development cooperation, but are dynamically expanding into areas of trade and investment, as well as in the regional political and security agenda. Peace and stability along the shores of the Indian Ocean and in the African Great Lakes region are shared foreign policy priorities. 

The EU's main objectives concerning Tanzania are:

  • To support Tanzania's further political and social democratization;
  • To advocate a pro-poor growth agenda and better economic governance and business climate; and to encourage 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 National Indicative Programme agreed between the EU and Tanzania for the 2014-2020 period foresees funding worth € 626m for good governance and development, energy and sustainable agriculture. The Economic Partnership Agreement agreed in October 2014 between the EU and the members of the East African Community, including Tanzania, is open to signature and ratification.

EU Relations with the East African Community (EAC)

The Delegation of the European Union to Tanzania is also accredited to represent the European Union in the East African Community (EAC).

Since 2007, cooperation and political dialogue between Africa and the European Union have been governed by the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. The Strategy identifies eight key areas of cooperation: peace and security, democratic governance and human rights; trade, regional integration and infrastructure; The Millennium Development Goals and now Sustainable Development Goals; energy; climate change and environment; migration, mobility and employment; science, information society and space.

 It is in keeping with its commitment to support the forging of greater regional integration on the African continent that the EU is now closely cooperating with the East African Community (EAC).

The United Republic of Tanzania is located in East Africa, borders on the Indian Ocean and has land borders with eight countries. Tanzania was born from the unification of Tanganyika, which is on the mainland, and Republic of Zanzibar, in the isles, in 1964. The country has attained a high recognition in the continent during the decolonisation period, when its first president, Julius Nyerere played an important role in the Pan-African Movement.

“Tanzania and European countries have had historical relations for the past centuries. It was not until 4th December, 1975, Tanzania and the European Union (European Commission at the time) entered into a cooperation agreement. Ever since, the relations between Tanzania and the European Union have grown from strength to strength” H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, Former President of Tanzania (2005-2015)

Cooperation between Tanzania and the European Union is legally underpinned by the Cotonou Agreement (2000-2020).  The ACP-EU Partnership agreement of 2000 provides another base for the partnership between the European Union and Tanzania. the Agreement is a framework

In keeping with Tanzania’s own development agenda and National Development Strategies, EU-Tanzania cooperation has three main objectives: to reduce poverty, promote sustainable development and support integration of ACP countries into the world economy. At the same time, the main principles of the partnership are shared values (respect of human rights, good governance and the rule of law), equality of partners, ownership of local development processes and participative approaches.

Human Rights

The EU is strongly committed to the promotion and protection of human rights in its work with partner countries. In Tanzania, one of the ways in which the EU supports human rights is through the launch of local Calls for Proposals under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). These specifically take into account human rights priorities in Tanzania, which are defined together with local civil society.

Engagement with Civil Society

Partnership with Non-State Actors in development has long been a priority for the European Union and many initiatives have been undertaken to support CSOs inclusion in policy making and service delivery. The European Union and its Member States want to further improve the consistency of EU cooperation with Civil Society organisations (CSOs), across sectors and financial instruments. The aim is to strengthen dialogue between EU and Civil Society, for increased aid effectiveness and impact.

Trade is one of the three pillars of the Cotonou Agreement (the other two being development cooperation and political dialogue) between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACPs).

Trade flows between the Eastern African Community and the EU totals €5.8bn, exports to the EU being dominated by flowers, coffee, vegetables, fish and tobacco. The EU mainly exports machinery, chemicals and vehicles to the EAC.

Development is a fundamental tenet of the EU trade strategy which aims to support the gradual integration of developing countries in the world economy and the multilateral trading system. Historically, the EU and the United Republic of Tanzania have had a strong economic relationship, including with regards to investment and trade. As a bloc, the EU is Tanzania's second export destination and its third largest trading partner. Roughly 16% of Tanzania’s global exports are destined for the EU's 28 Member States. According to EU statistics, total trade between the EU and Tanzania amounted to €2 billion in 2015 representing 10% of Tanzanian total trade. This puts the EU, together with India and China, on the first rank for imports into Tanzania.

European Union, Trade with Tanzania (Mio €)

Source: DG Trade, European Commission, 2015
Source: DG Trade, European Commission, 2015

The EU is the first source of Foreign Direct Investment. EU businesses have made very significant investments in agro processing, tourism, extractive industries, telecoms, ports and construction.

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 EU is engaged with the Government of Tanzania through dialogue and technical support on issues related to business enhancement. For instance, the EU and the Government of Tanzania have set up a number of platforms for dialogue allowing the EU private sector operating in the country to discuss with the Tanzanian administration on taxation, customs, port and immigration matters. Within this framework, the EU and the European private sector have set up the European Union Business Group (EUBG).

At global level, the European Union has been looking into ways of making the private sector a key partner in the European Union’s overall development strategy. To that end, the EU adopted in May 2014 a Communication on strengthening the role of the private sector in achieving inclusive and sustainable growth in developing countries. A tangible result of this EU strategy in Tanzania is the European Investment Bank project which concluded an agreement in 2014 with a Tanzanian bank to establish a substantial micro-finance credit line for the small and medium-sized enterprises of Tanzania. In Tanzania alone, TSH 200 billion, which represents around EUR 100 million, are earmarked to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through these agreements.

The European Union Business Group (EUBG) in Tanzania

Tanzania is among the top five Least Developed Countries recipients of Foreign Direct Investment with USD 2.1 Billion recorded in 2014. To maintain its attractiveness, the Government is improving the business environment. Against this background, the EUBG was launched on 23 April 2015 following an initiative by a number of European companies supported by the European Union Diplomatic Missions in Tanzania. The Group provides opportunities for information exchange and facilitates advocacy (including Economic diplomacy by the EU) under one common "EU businesses" banner. The EUBG aspires to be a frank and reliable partner for engagement with the Government but also the Tanzanian private sector on issues of interest to European investors and on the overall business environment.

Over the past 40 years, Tanzania has received more than EUR 3 billion to implement an extensive range of projects and programmes. These all have one overarching aim: to reduce poverty; be it through improving roads, sanitation systems, healthcare, community education and good governance.

A larger share of EU funding for Tanzania originates from the European Development Fund (EDF). The EDF supports cooperation activities in the fields of economic development, social and human development as well as regional cooperation and integration.

The EDF is financed by EU Member States according to a contribution key and is covered by its own financial rules. The total financial resources of the 11th EDF amount to EUR 30.5 billion for 2014-2020.

According to the 11th EDF National Indicative Programme (EUR 626 million), the EU will promote pro-poor, inclusive and sustainable growth, in line with the Agenda for Change and with the country national development strategies (Tanzania Vision 2025 – TV 2025, the Five Year Development Plan II) and the corresponding Big Results Now (BRN) initiative launched in 2013 to boost results in certain sectors (education, water, energy, transport, agriculture). The NIP is focused on three sectors; good governance and development, energy, and sustainable agriculture.

European Union Support to Tanzania

Climate Change and Environment

Tanzania is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, with 80% of the population relying on climate sensitive, rain-fed agriculture for their livelihood. Strengthening resilience is therefore crucial to ensuring sustainable socio-economic development and food and nutrition security.

The European Union promotes climate action through a wide range of initiatives from policy and institutional development to community-based projects. This includes promoting innovative approaches in agriculture, livestock, water, energy and natural resource management in selected villages and pioneering replicable solutions to climate change vulnerability in selected villages through agroforestry, rainwater harvesting and fuel-efficient cooking stoves.

A major vehicle for support is the “Global Climate Change Alliance” (GCCA) programme, established 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 including 51 actions in 38 countries, 8 regions and several sub-regions. 

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 MIKE- Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants Programme, which in Tanzania has worked in 4 sites: Selous/Mikumi, Ruaha/Rungwa, Katavi/Rukwa, Tarangire/Manyara.

Under the “Non-State Actors Environment Programme”, the EU is currently working with two WMAs in Western Serengeti and supporting the resilience of communities is enhanced through sustainable land use planning and participatory community-based natural resource management practices.


For almost a decade now, the EU has joined forces with Tanzania to fight against energy poverty. It has promoted the introduction of innovative approaches for decentralised 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. The EU continues to work closely with the Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM), the Rural Energy Agency (REA), the regulatory authority EWURA and the power utility TANESCO.

Empowering Tanzania: Energy for Growth and Sustainable Development

Cultural Heritage and Creative Industries

Cultural heritage and creative industries in the culture sector are crucial to any society and to promoting sustainable development. They can however only flourish if they operate in an enabling environment, offering actors the opportunity to create, innovate and promote their products for the benefit of all. There is much potential in Tanzania; development partners, the private sector and the government all need to team up to facilitate the development of those cultural initiatives which can support Tanzanian history and identity.

The European Union is proud to be one of the largest investors in the sectors of arts and cultural heritage in the country. Under the 10th European Development Fund ‘Support to Culture’ programme, the EU is providing EUR 10 million for a range of initiatives. Eighteen projects have been selected to support Tanzanians with jobs and livelihoods through the restoration of traditional buildings, the weaving industry, production skills including dance, music and theatre, art as well as tourism related activities.

In addition, the EU thematic budget line ‘Investing in People’ supports a job creation programme, assisting with skills development in traditional restoration techniques as well as tourism guides in Zanzibar.

Good Governance

The objective of the partnership between the EU and Tanzania is to promote inclusive, sustainable and employment-based economic growth. The cooperation is therefore aligned to Tanzania's development strategies, which relies on a stable macro-economic environment and effective and accountable public administration.

The European Union promotes good governance through interventions in areas as diverse as the rule of law, democratisation, public finance management, transparency of extractive industries, human rights and capacity development of civil society organisations. In all interventions, particular attention is paid to the promotion of gender equality and women empowerment, as well as child-rights.

In addition to budget support, which relies on a beneficial dialogue with the authorities around development policies and their outcome, the EU supports the government's reforms and systems in public finance management, including budget planning and formulation and expenditure management. Domestic revenue mobilisation in particular is addressed both at central and local government level. Dedicated technical assistance is provided to the oversight institutions, such as the internal auditor general, the controller, auditor general and the Parliament committees.

Furthermore, the EU has a long-standing tradition in supporting credible, transparent and inclusive elections in Tanzania and is also actively promoting legal sector reforms and capacity development, as well as policy and regulatory reforms for civil society organisations in Zanzibar.


The European Union is a key partner in providing support for Infrastructure in Tanzania, in particular in the areas of energy, water & sanitation and transport.

In energy, a focal sector under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), 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).

In the areas of water and sanitation, the main objective of 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 recognises that the availability of efficient and affordable transport is a crucial condition for economic development and poverty reduction. The EU is therefore supporting the development of transport infrastructure, especially rural roads and regional transport corridors, and is strengthening the technical and institutional capacity of authorities to define and implement effective and sustainable policies and maintenance strategies.

Regional Cooperation with the East African Community

The European Union is a long standing partner of the East African Community. This includes support to economic, political and security integration, as well as enhanced cooperation in the management of natural resources.

EU support focuses on sustainable economic development in the region through the promotion of more integrated markets, and the development of investment and productive capacities. Under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), the EAC Trade Related Facility (TRF) is to act as a mechanism to provide financial and technical support to EAC Partner States and to implement EAC trade-related agreements.

The development of regional infrastructure projects is crucial to the development of a competitive regional economic integration process. Current inefficiencies in this area are being addressed by a series of actions to reduce transport costs and boost intra-African trade; reduce energy costs and increase access, ensure water and food security and increase global connectivity.

To ensure peace, security and stability in the region, the EU supports the strengthening of electoral governance mechanisms, ensuring the smooth and safe running of elections in EAC partner states and building the capacities of national judiciaries, intelligence, law enforcement and border security agencies to combat and prevent terrorism and fight cross-border/transnational crime.

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

EAC Resource Mobilisation: EU-EAC Regional Cooperation

Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security

The European Union 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 trade at national, regional and continental level.

Over 70% of Tanzanians are farmers. Agricultural development and transformation are drivers of growth in the country’s strategy to reduce poverty. The sector also offers great potential to strengthen commercial links with the EU. The main commodities are staple crops (maize, sorghum, millet, rice, wheat, beans, cassava, potatoes, bananas and plantains) and cash and export crops such as coffee, cotton, cashew nuts, sugar, tobacco, sisal, tea, cloves, horticultural crops, oil seeds, spices and flowers.

The sector has been supported by the EU through several programmes and instruments such as the “Trade and Agriculture Support Programme”, the “Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania” (SAGCOT) initiative, the “Food Facility", the Food Security thematic programme, the “EU Global Climate Change Alliance” initiative and the “Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol” (AMSP).

Under the 11th EDF National Indicative Programme for Tanzania (2014-2020), sustainable agriculture is featured as one of the three focal sectors of intervention. A balanced approach across geographical areas is, while integrating sustainable land and natural resource management, food and nutrition security and women empowerment in the sector.

The European Commission’s humanitarian assistance in Tanzania is part of a regional programme intended to assist refugees, returnees and asylum seekers in the Great Lakes Region. The Commission continues to help refugees in camps in north-western Tanzania by providing basic needs and protection services. Since 2002, the European Commission has provided more than EUR 60 million for repatriation and resettlement interventions in north-western Tanzania and in neighbouring Burundi. The Commission has supported the naturalisation process of the Burundian refugees who have been in Tanzania since the 1970’s.

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

European Commission: Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection in Tanzania

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