The Sweden-Tanzania research cooperation aims at enhancing the country's capacity to plan, conduct and use research in the fight against poverty. Through the support the objective is to enhance the country's analytical capacity and international competitiveness.
Tanzania finds it important to strengthen its knowledge system. There is a great need for increased analytical capacity and generation of scientific knowledge in the country to reduce the global knowledge gap between high and low income countries. National development and international competitiveness are increasingly dependent on the national production of new knowledge.
Evidence-based knowledge is necessary to solve social and economic problems to develop well-designed policies and well-founded decision making. The society at large gains from scientific knowledge and technological and innovative solutions that can address national problems and contribute to increased wellbeing for those who need it most. This requires strong research institutions that can carry out high quality research, train researchers and collaborate with different actors in society.
The Swedish research cooperation with Tanzania was initiated in 1977. Since the mid 90's it cooperation was directed to develop institutional research capacity at institutions of higher learning. This was done with the aim to increase national ownership of the research agenda and to ensure that the support was completely integrated and aligned to institutional structures for increased sustainability of the capacity to carry out research.
The aim of the Swedish research cooperation is to increase Tanzania’s production and use of scientific knowledge for inclusive economic growth and social development.
Sweden is currently providing support to four public institutions of which three are universities, University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) and Ardhi University (ARU) and one research council Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH).
The support is directed to develop institutional research capacity through research training, developing high quality PhD and MSc programmes, research management including grant calls, policy development, research communication and liaison with society based on the triple Helix approach.
The Tanzanian universities and COSTECH collaborates with13 Swedish universities and the Swedish Research Council in order to achieve the objectives.
The results from research cooperation have been significantly positive. Overall, 245 lecturers at Tanzanian partner universities have received training at PhD level through the Swedish support. Beside these, 700 have received training to Master's level. Many of the important posts in the government's administrative functions are held by individuals trained for MSc and/or PhD degrees within the Sida supported research cooperation.
Worth special mention is the research on HIV/AIDS, malaria, marine sciences, maternal and child health, urban and rural planning, food security, business administration, renewable energy, geology, ICT, water and sanitation and mathematics. The research has in many cases directly influenced policy formulation in the aforementioned areas.
Some of the most significant results of the Swedish research cooperation with Tanzania and its impact in society, has been achieved through the innovation and clusters program first managed by UDSM and later by COSTECH. The formation of innovative clusters firms have passed the eight clusters that were established in 2006 to the 57 clusters that exist today consisting, in total 6871 firms of which 57% are headed by women. The challenge has not been to establish the clusters and train them to develop business plans, but the limited connection to the academia for knowledge transfer, in order to develop and improve the quality of their goods and services.
Where there has been collaboration between researchers and the community, studies has shown that local production has increased, and also contributed to entrepreneurs and their families receiving higher incomes and better living conditions. This can be observed in various value chains, among others, algae cultivation, fish breeding, pearl farming, mushroom cultivation, food processing and development of various prescription formulas to combat malnutrition.
The research in health has contributed to increased knowledge and treatment to some of the major health problems in Tanzania, which has had positive health effects of Tanzania's population but foremost women and children. The research has also contributed to a better understanding of how to manage urban, rural and marine environments.
The long-term capacity building program has not only led to impressive research outputs, but also provided the universities with modern equipment, the digitalization of major processes and improved national and international communication.
Johan Hellström (firstname.lastname@example.org)