By Michael Kwame Nkonu. Like many countries in East Africa, Tanzania is dealing with the impacts of climate change which are often manifested in frequent and severe droughts in this part of the world. As observed in the 2003, 2005 and 2009 drought years, the resultant drying out of key water bodies leads to low agricultural yields and often heavy livestock losses.

Tanzania is a rapidly growing economy with annual growth rates averaging 6.73 percent from 2002. Agriculture remains critical to the economy and contributes about 25% to GDP. There is a significant threat to Tanzania’s economy and development due to climate change which is endangering food security, ecological stability, and sustainable economic growth.

The national development efforts such as Tanzania's Development Vision 2025 (TDV2025), the Agricultural Sector Development Plan II (ASDP 2) and Tanzania National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA), have agriculture as a significant contributor. However the sector is a risk and will demand a strategic approach.

It is therefore critical for Tanzania that its growth process is designed to be inclusive, green and sustainable in the long-term. The IUCN Sustainability and Inclusion Strategy for Growth Corridors in Africa (SUSTAIN-Africa) has been working in Tanzania sine 2015 in collaboration with national and international partners to support mainstreaming of inclusive green growth in Tanzania’s development initiatives. This is made even more significant considering that Tanzania as a country has about 40% of its landmass under conservation.

SUSTAIN-Africa since its inception has been involved with the Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) programme. IUCN engages with SAGCOT at different levels in order to ensure that key tenets of IGG are effectively reflected and mainstreamed in SAGCOT’s strategy and operations.

For example, the SUSTAIN-Africa programme has collaborated with the SAGCOT Centre Ltd., the entity that implements the SAGCOT programme as well as with WWF to develop the Inclusive Green Growth Toolkit to support SAGCOT partners to implement and measure their IGG strategies. In this way, SAGCOT is translating policy into practise and helping its business partners to develop, implement and monitor IGG strategies. The toolkit in the long-run is expected to deliver tangible benefits including:

  • relevant data on IGG
  • backing up of rhetoric with facts
  • supporting access to sustainable finance and technical support
  • setting of ambitious sustainability targets by businesses
  • development of internal mechanisms of business by businesses to implement IGG initiative

In my view this is how mainstreaming IGG will happen. The private sector in Tanzania has grown increasingly vocal with regards to the need for businesses to be environmentally sustainable and inclusive. This is due to businesses’ experiences with the negative impact of a degrading environment and poor inclusivity.

SUSTAIN-Africa’s collaboration with the CEO Roundtable of Tanzania (CEOrt) has taken head-on the role of business in sustainable development. CEOrt has been working with SUSTAIN-Africa over the last few years to facilitate business contribution to biodiversity conservation in Tanzania. 

Today there is a growing link between SUSTAIN’s engagement with SAGCOT and the CEOrt.  Access to finance for smallholders and large-scale producers is critical to SAGCOT’s agenda of ramping-up agricultural productivity in a sustainable manner. The increasing move towards sustainable financing through the work of the CEOrt with banks is key in increasing and extending climate smart agriculture (CSA) financing in Tanzania.

At a recent CSA financing meeting in Dar es Salaam, it emerged that the IGG toolkit will become a critical tool for assessing and monitoring smallholders and agribusiness’ commitments to IGG. It will also enable banks to assess potential loan repayment risks. Application of CSA in agriculture reduces yield and income risks for farmers and will contribute to improved loan repayment rates as farmers increase their incomes.

At our last meeting I saw the enthusiasm of the SAGCOT CEO on climate smart agriculture financing, when he saw the link between the toolkits we are developing and also the response from the banking sector. He then began to see the linkages of why you need an IGG toolkit to be able to mainstream it within the financial sector, that then enable them to extend finance into the agricultural sector.

Overall, SUSTAIN-Africa and its partners are excited about the growing appreciation for IGG across different sectors in Tanzania. There is more to do including carefully analysing and drawing lessons from the SUSTAIN-Africa project to guide IGG policy and decision making in Tanzania. SUSTAIN-Africa’s next big step will be to filter all these developments across the different levels into a national level policy for greater influence beyond the project, and Tanzania.


Michael Kwame Nkonu is the SUSTAIN project manager for Tanzania.

For more information, please contact