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Key findings
  • Health, water supply, education, and electricity are among the top six priority problems that Tanzanians want their government to address
  • Infrastructure for delivering these services is limited, especially in rural areas. Overall, a majority (56%) of Tanzanians live in areas with an electric grid, 39% in areas with a piped water system, but only 5% in areas with a sewage system. More Tanzanians live within easy walking distance of a school (69%) and a health clinic (42%).
  • In each of these sectors, service delivery appears to have improved since 2014, with fewer Tanzanians reporting difficulties, delays, and bribe-paying
  • Poor citizens are considerably more likely to report difficulties and delays than their wealthier counterparts.

Access to basic public services is regarded as a major determinant of human development and productivity, a prerequisite for ensuring the welfare of a country’s citizens (Armah-Attoh, 2015). But access to basic public services remains a major problem in many developing economies (Ofori-Mensal, 2017).

Despite stable economic growth averaging 7% over the past decade, Tanzania continues to face substantial development challenges (Kinyondo & Pelizzo, 2018; African Development Bank Group, 2018). The government has adopted a variety of development initiatives consistent with its commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 2030 as well as National Development Vision 2025, which aims to transform the country into a middle-income economy. Among other approaches, the government has sought to improve delivery of public services through administrative, legal, labour, and financial reforms focusing on transparency, accountability, and performance of civil servants (Lufunyo, 2013)

This dispatch examines citizens’ perceptions and experiences with regard to four major public services that Tanzanians rank among the most important problems their government should address: health care, water/sanitation, electricity, and education. Findings from the most recent Afrobarometer survey show that while infrastructure remains limited, citizens’ experiences have improved, with declines in reported difficulties, delays, and bribe payments in obtaining services and increases in citizen approval of government performance.

Derick Msafiri

Derick Msafiri is an intern for REPOA, the Afrobarometer national <br /> partner in Tanzania.