In our Vision 2050 we stressed the need for a better organized bottom up approach to development.

This does require that certain conditions are guaranteed. There are two important one’s which need to be developed if bottom – up initiatives are to succeed:

  • Direct access to resources – material, human, spiritual
  • Creating local capacity for self – development.

There has been an over – emphasis in Tanzania on centralization of decision making. Beginning with the President who has too much power of decision and appointments.

Right down the line of command local initiatives is stiffed. This very hierarchical way of governing has prevented cross – cutting – horizontal development and prevented fruitful regionalization and profiting from local/regional advantages.

It also departmentalized policies, preventing coordinating collaboration at regional and district level. Responsibilities in different departments were top down controlled. Many initiatives could not materialize because of this lack of coordination between services and departments.

Therefore, when we speak of bottom – up development we need some very essential changes in the way things are organized at the local level.

We do not need another local government reform.

That is only a repeat of a way which has not brought initiative at the local level.

We need to break the inertia we experience at local level. The last thing to do is to accuse people at local level to be ignorant or unwilling. It is up to the administration to create the opportunities and supportive sustenance of local initiatives.

As mentioned two areas need to be development

  • Direct access to resources of material, human and of spiritual kind
  • Create a local administration to guide local self – development.

Access to resources

To break the local inertia, the village and the informal sectors in urban setting, need a way to obtain access to advisory services, capacity to analyze a local situation, a spiritual motivation to gather together desires and needs. Access to financial resources and cutting out middle – men who often abuse the local producers.

These requirements cannot be organized top – down.

It needs another approach.

Creation of local administration capacity for self-development

The TASAF experience revealed that the continuation of local initiative was missing after the input of a project oriented subsidy.

This is what needs to be answered and solved. It cannot be provided from above. It must be generated from within the local community.

This requires a serious study and animation:

  • How to create a local initiative mentality?
  • Who are the people in the village who can provide a leadership function for local initiative?
  • Such a service must be de-politicized and not be part of the political parties system.
  • This service cannot be organized on the political level, but on the social administrative level and not subject to political campaigns or political elections. They must be of a council/administrative type of service to the local community.

We need a serious study on these issues.

The Church communities should take a lead in this research – obtaining the real situation on the ground. This task should be provided by our Church social services, our lay apostolate movements, our local spiritual animators, catechists, local halmashauri.

Our CPT – lawyers group should take up the issue of organizing village administration at the service of the village and not as a reporting agency to higher administration.

To invite local NGO initiatives to seek collaboration at local level. To collect data of what is being done already.

To organize diocesan Caritas groups to provide the animation and motivation for local leaders to succeed.

On the level of financial policy, which aims at profiting private shareholders and investors. The financial system must take up a far greater responsibility in the poverty eradication in Tanzania. The money that is now in the vaults of the Tanzanian Financial institutions cannot be considered to be private, in the hands of shareholders and depositors. These savings and deposits have a social obligation and must be used as sources of input for the social problems of our people. We can think of links with pension funds, insurance funds, funds for handicapped and widows, old age pension for the poor, free basic medicines for the poor.

  • Banks are making increasing profit – (from 1.1 trillion profit in 2022 to 1.5. trillion in 2023)

Is that good performance? Is that what financial institutions in Tanzania should be doing – making profit for whom?

  • What is “bank profit” – how is it obtained?

The use of money is threefold: For commercial transactions, for storage by other institutions, for speculation.

Which of these causes the bank profit?

For whom is the profit – before tax and after tax.

  • Who is making financial policy in Tanzania?

Has politics a real say in the matter?

Who determines the moral requirements for such policies? How to oblige financial institutions to poverty. Money is not a private property; it is a Social resource.

  • NMB and CRDB at the moment of privatization have started with an unfair advantage and been able to maintain that privileged position in terms of agents, building, service to government and government employees. Moreover, a good number of shareholders are foreigners, hence an outflow of profit. The position of these two main banks, holding half of the financial dealings, their statute needs to be reviewed and they must carry a far greater social responsibility in the eradication of poverty. they were state institutions before.
  • We need more detailed information on investments, and on its geographical distribution, on what percentage goes into small industries, how much has gone wasted. Such knowledge should be public and open for debate.

Post – fact information is not enough. A critical analysis must be subject to parliamentary evaluation.

It is clear that resources available at the level of local initiatives must be at the call of the local initiative. They must be independent and be provided by another way of gathering funds. It cannot continue as allocation by higher authorities. They must be independent Funds – how to feed those. How to control them – how to administer them. This is what needs to be studied and technically organized.

Also the question of creating local administrative capacity? Who are the members of the local community who can fulfil the role of initiators? How can the community succeed in choosing such initiators?

This cannot be a political choice, it must be a social selection – e.g. among the local teachers, or the catechists, or the members of the halmashauri, the medical assistant. How can the village council come to such a choice? There should be no outside interference, or higher authorities trying to intervene.

Then how does one help such trusted people and give them a formation to fulfil their role?

These are the issues which will provide local administrative capacity. It is a major undertaking, but that is why we have a time span of 25 years till 2050.

Let us take the necessary time, provided we have the proper vision and the proper motivation and do not let pressure group divert the direction.

Create the general political will to aim at a major change, developing the country from bottom up.


In our CPT vision for 2050 we stressed the need for a bottom up approach to development.

But this bottom – up approach requires direct support through a financial policy and financial institutions supporting and being supported by government, to play that essential role.

There is first of all a moral foundation for this because to eradicate poverty in Tanzania is more than an economic issue: It is a social/moral issue which must be taken up by the whole society and by all the organized social/professional agents. Not just the work of government and administration. Solidarity and the Common Good must be guiding principles for the whole society to practice.

There are of course, a lot of technical issues to be considered. But we do have in Tanzania already a good number of initiatives which can be developed.

Again a research into how to bundle together these efforts, should be part of our preparation for Vision 2050. Essential is the political will to serve the common good and leave aside narrow political interests.

Fr. Victor Missiaen, M.Afr

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania