REPOA aims to conduct long-term research projects that are important from a national perspective, examining the potential impact of emerging issues and development trends. At times, these are developed and implemented in collaboration with local and international research institutes. REPOA also undertakes commissioned research projects as one of the key avenues for the organisation to contribute to and participate in socio-economic and policy development processes.
Below are some of the research projects and programmes currently in progress under these core and cross-cutting themes:
Growth-Poverty Nexus: Towards a Structuralist Macroeconomic Perspective
This project on the growth-poverty nexus commenced in 2010 with the objective to lay down the framework for research on the relationship between economic growth and poverty reduction in Tanzania using the structuralist approach to the macroeconomics of growth. A framework for research was prepared and is currently in use, from which different pieces of research can be implemented. This first output is a draft special paper of theoretical reflections on wage goods inflation and the growth-poverty nexus.
A seminar on ‘Tanzania Macro-economy Patterns and Stories of Economic Change” was organized to stimulate further discussion on analysis of the macro-economy of Tanzania and was well attended by researchers and policy analysts. Since then, various institutions, including the University of Dar es Salaam have requested REPOA to organize similar sessions to stimulate further policy and intellectual debate on the structure of Tanzanian economy. In addition, short training seminars on the subject have been developed will be offered to strategically selected candidates and on demand.
Sectoral Systems of Innovation (SSI)
REPOA commissioned the Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy Research Organization (STIPRO, formerly known as ATPS) to undertake part II of the study on the Sectoral Systems of Innovation (SSI). This work is a continuation of part one of the overall project on the assessment of the performance of the three sectoral systems of innovation in the Tanzanian economy, namely agriculture, health and manufacturing. While part one of the project endeavoured to map supply side factors, viz. policies and actors, this second part is devoted to complete the system picture by analysing the impact of the identified supply side factors on the demand side, i.e. the innovators themselves in the three sectors. The study uses the conceptual framework on systems of innovation that highlights important elements for robust innovation system capable of transforming the economy. The study will be finalized in 2013.
Deepening the Understanding of Rural Transformation
The main objective of this research is to understand what it takes to transform rural Tanzania through learning from other countries. A conceptual framework was developed during the first phase and presented during the 17th Annual Research Workshop. The second phase focuses on field based analysis on transformation in the context of Tanzanian environment. Two studies were initiated towards the end of the year and are at initial stages of implementation. The studies include:
i. Financial landscape in Tanzania: financial behavior and use of financial services in rural areas
The objective of the study is to enhance the understanding of the demand for and access to financial services as a means in which better policy interventions can be designed. It uses secondary data from FINCSOPE surveys, which provides nationally representative data on the demand and supply of financial services.
ii. Role of LGAs in the context of ASDP for promoting agricultural productivity, growth in farm incomes, and transformation
The main objective of the study is to examine the patterns of budget allocation under ASDP, both at LGAs and at national level in order to give fact-based advice to the government in re-orienting its agricultural capitalization strategy.
Studies on the links between growth, employment, and poverty
In the light of the rising concerns on unemployment, and the limited information and knowledge on the labour market dynamics in Tanzania, REPOA in collaboration with the ILO and the Ministry of Labour and Employment decided to establish the National Centre for Employment Studies (NCES). The Centre will initiate and coordinate implementation of studies on trends in employment, labour productivity and earnings, and labour market dynamics as they link with a broader theme of growth and development. It will also promote policy dialogue on employment issues and maintain database of relevant information on the subject. Three studies were initiated in this area: -
I. The study on Quest of Inclusive Growth: Exploring the Nexus between Economic Growth, Employment and Poverty in Tanzania
A draft paper was produced and discussed at REPOA’s seminar series and work is progressing to provide a final paper for discussions and dissemination
II. Analysis of response of municipal councils on youth unemployment from capability perspective
The study seeks to investigate how factors that govern trade in the urban economy, namely licensing, access to business premises, access to finance and taxes affect young people’s productive capabilities to participate in gainful employment within the urban economy. The implementation of this study is at initial stage.
Other Ongoing Commissioned And Collaborative Studies
Learning to Compete: Accelerating Industrial Development in Africa
This is a collaborative research with the African Development Bank, the Brookings Institution Africa Growth Institute, and the United Nations University World Institute of Development Economics Research.
The objective of this study is to investigate how firms learn to compete. It seeks to answer a seemingly simple but puzzling question: why is there so little industry in Africa? Many studies done so far to address this question have been on the investment climate, and have concluded that Africa is a high cost, high risk environment in which to invest. But the investment climate may not tell the whole story and recently, there has been renewed academic and policy interest in what happens within and between firms. The study is at advanced stage of completing the report.
Study on the Manufacturing Industry
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has commissioned REPOA to undertake a study on the manufacturing industry. The study aims to explain the discrepancy between manufacturing exports and manufacturing performance. The project will identify success factors driving the rise of the manufacturing industry. The study is in advanced stage of completing the report.
Follow up Survey for the Impact Assessment of the National Agricultural Input Voucher Systems (NAIVS)
This project aims to assess the impact of the National Agricultural Input Voucher Systems. The project was implemented as a panel survey following the baseline implemented in 2011. Currently, REPOA and its partners, namely the World Bank the University of California at Berkeley, and the Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives are finalizing the report of the survey.
The research program on social protection aims to generate knowledge based on a dynamic conceptualization of social protection not only in terms of its role in income and consumption smoothing but also in terms of its transformative potential in both social and economic development as an integral part of the socioeconomic transformation.. The research program thus addresses comprehensive social policies that support structural change, social cohesion and voice for the citizens (governance and accountability and democratic politics).The research thus highlights the transformative role of social policy to achieve broader economic, social and political goals, such as distribution, protection, production and reproduction.
Understanding the Process of Economic Change: Technology and Opportunity in Rural Tanzania
The overall objective of this research project is to examine how culture shapes the economic strategies of rural dwellers in the context of increased social differentiation. Particular focus is on the relation between cultural transformation and economic opportunity.The research explores how changed economic environments and possibilities bring about cultural changes, and considers the extent to which the structural differences in economic integration between the two districts impact on the livelihood strategies of residents. The research aims to contribute to and update existing studies of livelihood strategies in Tanzania, which have not addressed in depth diversification strategies in rural areas and the increasing hybridization of rural economies and build up a comprehensive understanding of drivers of social and economic transformation in the rural areas which can inform understanding of similar processes elsewhere in Tanzania.
The research revealed significant changes in everyday economic practices and a willingness among small farmers to adopt new technologies. There were also important continuities in ways of managing livelihoods and household economies. The study calls for policy directed at changing economic behavior, paying attention to supporting the emergence of the contexts which enable its occurrence. Furthermore, is suggests for smart policy for rural economic growth that focus on growing opportunities for rural populations; all achieved through careful nurturing of actual and emerging opportunity rather than promotion of an economic monoculture of agrarian uniformity.
Role of Cash Transfers in Social Protection
Social protection program recognizes cash transfers as one among integral tools for addressing extreme poverty. The program further takes into consideration the broader societal processes of exclusion that relegate the poor to low status and confine them to poverty traps due to lack of the means and capabilities to take up available opportunities in society. Thus this (on-going) study addresses the skepticism that is often expressed about the role and effectiveness of cash transfers. The arguments for, and against cash transfers do suggest a need to better understand their role in reducing poverty, enhancing capabilities and transforming lives of the very poor.
The study thus explores not only the extent to which cash transfers are smoothing income and consumption, but also the extent to which they are productive and have the potential to empower the poor to overcome social vulnerabilities that generate cumulative processes of deprivation. In addition, the study examines factors that might affect the effectiveness of cash transfers including targeting criteria, institutional/administrative implementation arrangements, and accountability arrangements in place to monitor quality of service delivery, leakages, financial flows, and so forth.
The researchers anticipate that assessing the impact of these programs will provide opportunity to draw lessons from their successes, constraints and challenges. Furthermore, given that experiences of cash transfer program in Tanzania and other neighboring countries is limited, the findings from the study will shed light on the extent to which cash transfers in our own context can indeed be productive, enhance capabilities and empower the poor to overcome social vulnerabilities as Tanzania continues to adopt varied interventions to poverty reduction. Such knowledge will contribute to informed policy decisions on cash transfers as a social policy tool for reducing poverty and improving human development outcomes. Key findings and recommendations will further be disseminated through open sessions, policy briefs and seminars, as well as publications in peer-reviewed and international journals.
Assessing the Potential of Development Grants as a Promotive Social Protection measure
This is an exploratory study aimed to examine the extent to which social grants provided as productive safety nets have potential of transforming the livelihood capacities of the poor and contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction. Specifically the study intends to produce evidence on whether the grants provided to women groups to promote investment ventures has influenced the livelihood activities of the members of the supported groups and if so, through which mechanisms. The key question addressed in this paper is: Under which conditions do community level productive safety nets work as a promotive social protection measure? Specifically, the study intends to understand the manner in which the grant is managed by each group of poor rural women, major promotive aspects of the grant based on the experiences of the group members, as well as conditions that enhances the functionality of the grant.
The study found that social protection through social grants in form of productive safety nets can have a positive impact on economic growth and can help to shape the pattern of economic growth in favor of the poor. This study findings further show that functionality of the grant mechanisms can be considerably enhanced when there is provision of Business Development Services (BDS) such as training on entrepreneurship, identification of profitable business ventures, and supportive supervision to the groups on proper financial management. The study recommends for, among others, policies that will sequence protective and promotive social protection measures through social grants with two objectives; smoothening consumption and supporting productive investment.
Ethics, payments and maternal survival
The main reason for designing and undertaking a study on “Ethics, payments and maternal survival in Tanzania” was recognition of the fact that Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in Tanzania remains unacceptably high, and knowing that it is the failures of access to emergency obstetric and post natal care that are major causes of maternal deaths in Tanzania. Research on issues of quality and access to maternal health care in Tanzania show evidence of abuse, bribery and other forms of charges for maternal care which formally is supposed to be provided free of charge, and it has been shown that this influences patients’ care-seeking behaviour in all sectors. However, the extent and nature of payments, the interaction of payments with professional ethics and staff behaviour; and the extent to which good management practices can counter or reverse the crisis are all severely under-researched. Undertaking research that would provide evidence on these issues to feed into policy and professional training and practice was therefore deemed crucial.
Results based on the analysis done and working papers produced so far show that the research has added to knowledge about the ethical content and implications of individual payment systems for maternal care, and has generated policy-relevant evidence as to how health management can achieve more ethical and inclusive care through breaking interactive linkages between individual payments, abuse, and collapse in staff morale. We expect to feed these findings into policy and health management debate locally. This will be done, among others, through publication of the results and production of policy briefs by REPOA for wide dissemination and discussion with stakeholders in policy dialogue seminars. Results will also be disseminated internationally through publications in peer-reviewed journals and papers written for international conferences.
In the medium and long term we expect findings and recommendations of the study that would have been shared and disseminated widely will contribute to interventions that would effectively address the problem of payments for maternal care, which is a key element in an interactive and cumulative set of unethical and damaging behaviour, including abuse and exclusion.
Gendered Nature of Education – Labour Market Linkages
Gender inequality remains an issue of concern in all spheres of life in many countries, including Tanzania. Two sectors, education and the labour market have a strong linkage and are well recognized with no exception. Using a case of higher education, this study used a Social-Cognitive Theory of Gender Development and Differentiation to explore why increased enrolment of females in education is not necessarily a pathway to improved gender equality in employment.
Results from analysis reveal gendered attitudes and practices in the labour market which might work to reinforce the effect of gendered education outcomes to further the disadvantaged position of women in the labour market. There was high prevalence of attitudes and practices that might impact male and female students differently in higher learning institutions and in moving into the labour market. Findings further showed a much wider gender gap in science programmes such as engineering compared to the social sciences.
This study was commissioned by FAWE, a pan-African non-government organisation working to promote girls’ and women’s education in sub-Saharan Africa in line with Education for All (EFA), and funded by NORAD.Findings of the study were disseminated at research workshop in Nairobi with other seven research teams from African countries including Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The purpose was to share the research findings and engage in critical analysis in order to propose recommendations for policy and practice related to gender issues in education. Publication is done by FAWE and it is on the final stage. Results have also been disseminated internationally through international conference papers
Industrial productivity, health sector performance and policy synergies for inclusive growth
Health systems are major purchasers of drugs and other essential medical supplies and equipment. In Tanzania, Shortages and inability to afford such essential commodities are known to be persistent causes of poor quality health care and exclusion from care. One would expect therefore that increasing production of local industries producing pharmaceuticals and other essential medical supplies and equipment would contribute to improved availability and affordability of drugs and other essential supplies hence, improved health sector performance. However, in Tanzania industrial research and policy making tends to be disconnected from health system research and policy.
This research project which is being undertaken in Tanzania and Kenya aims to bring the two fields of policy and research closer together by exploring synergies between the two sides that, if addressed could contribute to improved industrial production, which in turn could contribute to improved health service performance.
This two and a half year project commenced in June 2012 and has three stages of data collection. So far interviews have been conducted with key stakeholders and buyers and users of medicines and other medical and essential supplies and equipment including health facilities, pharmacies and drug shops. Initial findings show dominance of imported medicines and other medical supplies and equipment in the market compared to locally-produced products and challenges in the supply chain that lead to frequent shortages of medicines and other essential supplies and equipment, especially in the public health sector.
We expect that once all data has been collected, the findings will shed light on ways to improve local industrial production and will examine the conditions under which supply chain improvement can improve availability of drugs and other essential medical supplies. We aim to contribute to strengthening of unexplored synergies between the industrial and health sectors by engaging private sector businesses and policy makers in debate with health sector managers and policy makers on the scope for more integrated and effective policy making through roundtable discussions of key findings and recommendations, and publications and policy briefs discussed at policy dialogue seminars. We also expect to draw analytical and policy-relevant conclusions for international academic and policy audiences through publication of the results in peer-reviewed journals and papers for international conferences. In the long term we would expect to see the study contributing to more integrated policy making between the sectors, increased local production and therefore increased availability of drugs and other essential medical supplies in the health system.
The governance and service delivery research theme focuses on investigation of dynamics of governance, government responsiveness to citizens’ needs; the nature of relations that exists between the government and citizens including institutions that shape them and the influence of citizens in shaping policies. Four sub-themes form the thrust of governance and service delivery research:
Examining how resources are shared/ distributed and public services delivered. This theme also studies approaches to improve public service delivery effectiveness and accountability.
Examining the effectiveness of resource mobilization mechanisms and approaches to strengthening resource mobilization.
Study of institutions of governance and processes of power brokering on their own account and in relation to ordinary citizens. In particular how they foster or impinge on inclusive development, and approaches to building capacities with a view to expanding policy space, and bridging policy gap.
Examining effectiveness of local government reforms; processes for citizens’ democratic engagement—their utilisation and dynamics that shape their utilisation and effectiveness, and public service delivery at local level.
REPOA carried out a citizens’ survey as part of its formative research programme on Local Governments in REPOA’s six case study Councils. The data collected will be used towards completing an assessment of achievements and challenges remaining in LGAs after Ten Years of Local Government Reforms. Data analysis has commenced already and the department plans releasing three policy briefs during the remainder of the year, starting September 2013.
An assessment of Demand and Supply of Accountability in Tanzania
This study, mainly a desk review, set out to examine accountability frameworks at local level, and to identify factors that influence demand (by citizens) and supply (by state functionaries) of accountability in Tanzania. Findings suggest that considerable challenges remain in instituting functionality in accountability mechanisms at the local level, and attribute the situation to low levels of transparency, low awareness about roles of democratically elected representative (from village and council/constituent level), absence of a clear mechanism for holding the representatives to account; corruption and patronage.
As a consequence and coupled with low comprehension of accountability mechanisms in place among citizens, their leverage in demanding accountability remains largely weak. The study also highlights how contextual factors, in particular cultural dynamics and patron-client relations, affect citizens’ readiness to demand accountability; and that due to low levels of transparency, there is a tendency to generally blame poor service delivery on failure of accountability mechanisms, while failing to appreciate the role played by financing constraints. The research report is currently being reviewed.
Two dissemination events were carried out focusing on constitutional review and union matters, and citizens’ perceptions and attitudes towards taxation, tax enforcement and tax authorities. Both events were widely featured on national media. The department also produced two briefing papers using Afrobarometer data. The analysis on constitutional review and union matters showed that Tanzanians are highly supportive of a constitutional review; that majority of Tanzanians regardless of their place of residence (Mainland Tanzania or Zanzibar) do not want dissolution of the Union; and that majority would prefer that cabinet ministers are appointed from outside the parliament.
On its part, the analysis on taxation issues showed that Tanzanians are increasingly becoming supportive of tax authorities mandate to collect taxes though there is certain among of wariness about integrity of tax officials. This analysis also showed that Tanzanians are largely unaware of their obligation to pay taxes and have difficulty accessing information about fees and taxes they need to pay to the government.
Further information can be obtained from: http://www.afrobarometer.org/
Key findings from the 2008 survey for Tanzania are available here.
Publications from this survey include:
For prior publications, please click here.
Other Collaborative Activities
The department also provided training support to Twaweza towards implementation of an evaluative study of capitation grants in primary schools in Tanzania; and provided support to PWC towards review and dialogue on macroeconomic performance and budget following the unveiling of the 2013/14 budget.
If you are interested in learning more about any of these projects, you are welcome to contact us and the research coordinator for that project will respond to you.