Reviving Tanzania’s regional leadership and global engagement

Priorities for an effective foreign policy reset
Research paper Updated 20 May 2024 Published 29 April 2024 ISBN: 978 1 78413 604 8 DOI: 10.55317/9781784136048
A brand-new train carriage hangs from a crane as workers in high-visibility clothing stand below use ropes to unload it from a ship onto the quayside.

Tanzania has recently begun to re-emerge from a period of damaging isolationism under former president John Magufuli. This isolationism obstructed international investment and undermined the country’s credible history of continental leadership and global engagement. Following Magufuli’s death in 2021, his successor, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has sought to revive Tanzania’s reputation as a regional leader and reliable global partner. As part of this effort, President Samia commissioned an official review of foreign policy, seeking a first refresh for over two decades. This review provides a chance to consolidate Tanzania’s revival.

The country’s rising economic influence and its ambitions to complete major cross-border railway and energy infrastructure projects will demand a more active regional role. Opportunities also exist for Tanzania to show leadership on global challenges such as climate change, critical minerals and peacebuilding. But bolder steps are needed to prevent a return to isolation.

This research paper argues that Tanzania’s new foreign policy strategy must emphasize proactive engagement with regional institutions and on global issues. The paper concludes with a series of targeted recommendations on how policymakers in Tanzania and their international partners can achieve this aim.

A summary document of the paper’s conclusion and recommendations is available as a PDF download, in both English and Swahili.