Tanzania has enjoyed significant growth and expansion in some areas of the private sector economy (mining, manufacturing, tourism) following liberalisation in the 1990s. However, its business environment ratings have stagnated and the country has been grappling with the challenges of business environment reform for nearly two decades.

The Government of Tanzania’s Business Environment Lab conducted under the Big Results Now (BRN) initiative identified contact enforcement – together with law and order – as one of six priority areas for reforms.

An initial LASER scoping mission to Tanzania in July 2014 identified an opportunity to test a non-traditional approach to commercial law and justice reform focused on contract enforcement. This approach would allow reform to be undertaken in a politically smart and problem centred manner, progressing in small steps of ‘good enough’ reforms towards a solution that better fit the political and resource environment in Tanzania.

LASER subsequently developed a detailed Strategic Case for the £20M Assisting Contract Enforcement in Tanzania (ACET) project for DFID Tanzania and Canada DFATD (now Global Affairs Canada). The programme developed included ‘payment by results’ support to the Judiciary, support on alternative dispute resolution, and a focus on strengthening of the legal profession in commercial justice and informal commercial justice for small- and medium-sized enterprises and women entrepreneurs. LASER also outlined feasible options framed around problem driven iterative approaches versus ‘traditional’ project approaches.

In line with LASER’s adaptive approach, in light of the changing political context at the time, it was decided not to scale up further support in Tanzania. For more information on an adaptive approach, click here