Published: DECEMBER 22, 2021 DOWNLOAD

Tanzania is endowed with a large potential of renewable energy (RE) resources such as natural gas, hydro-power, geothermal, biogas, wind and solar power that once efficiently and effectively tapped could contribute to increase energy access and usability for socio economic development in Tanzania. However, its contribution into the national energy supply is currently limited.

Effective engagement of local communities is a key requirement for addressing equity needs and ensuring sustainability of the energy project outcomes. Evidence from some of the initiatives in the country and from abroad show that community participation (CP) aid broad energy investment and enables design of tailor-made community energy solutions. The government of Tanzania (GoT) acknowledges the role of CP in RE sector and seeks to promote this through a number of legal frameworks including several national and international energy access frameworks such as Sustainable energy for all (SE4ALL) and Sustainable development goals (SDGs) that Tanzania has subscribed to. However, CP in Tanzania remains limited due to a number of factors including low level of awareness among local communities, and inappropriate coordination and regulatory frameworks. Inadequate community participation (CP) in the RE sector continue to impede growth and utilization of clean, affordable and reliable energy resources to foster sustainable development in Tanzania.

Energy needs and priorities arising from village and ward level formal planning meetings need to be considered while planning for energy supply in the country. Enhancing CP in RE resources investments enlarge windows for local people employment opportunity, access to relevant energy information and improved standard of life accelerated from productive use of cost effective, reliable and clean energy. There is a need for strengthening local and national specific policies and long-term strategies that emphasize on the CP in the RE investments in the country. A strategic involvement of local government authorities (LGAs) (e.g. through establishment of the position of district energy officer or Energy Engineer) would go a long away through linking local community’s energy demands and priorities to Tanzania Electricity supply company (TANESCO) and Rural Electrification Authority (REA) should be given a special consideration.

Increasing local community energy political ownership requires joint efforts from different energy stakeholders. The joint efforts by the government decision makers, communities, Research institutions, developmental partners, NGOs, CSOs, private sector such as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other related actors are important to aid CP for increasing use of modern energy in the country.

Developing energy strategies and policies that favor efficient and effective CP in various renewable energy investments at both local and national level will greatly increase local communities’ political ownership of modern energy systems and thus fostering sustainable development in Tanzania.

Institutionalizing energy at the LGA level by creating a position of energy officer at the LGA level in order to identify local energy needs and facilitate interaction with local communities during energy design and planning sessions