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Capacity development for Tanzania's energy sector

Capacity needs in the wake of comprehensive policy and legislative reforms

Søren Vester Haldrup

Soren Haldrup

In recent years, the Government of Tanzania has introduced legislative changes intending to reform the country’s electricity supply industry (ESI). To support these changes, we were commissioned by the Ministry of Energy and the World Bank to undertake a training needs assessment (TNA) identifying the main skills gaps in the Ministry of Energy and the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO), and design a capacity development programme to address the identified capacity gaps.


Tanzania enjoys rich and diverse primary energy sources, including the abundant natural gas reserves discovered from 2010 onwards. The country's ESI has been dominated since 1975 by a vertically integrated state-owned company (TANESCO). In 2014, the Government of Tanzania published its Electricity Supply Industry Reform Strategy and Roadmap 2014–2025 (ESIR), which envisaged restructuring ESI into a fully liberalised wholesale and retail industry with regulated networks and competitive generation and distribution operating through a power market.

During 2015, the government also introduced comprehensive legislative reforms to modernise outdated laws, provide for the proper governance of the oil and gas sectors, and enable large investments to develop the resources. These changes are potentially significant for the power sector, but they also entail new roles, responsibilities, and ways of working. All this presents new skills requirements for the Ministry of Energy, TANESCO, and other actors in the energy sector. It is against this backdrop that the Ministry of Energy, with support from the World Bank, decided to commission a TNA and capacity development programme as part of the government's efforts to ensure that the sector is fit for purpose to implement the envisioned reforms.

Our approach

In order to implement this assignment, we deployed a three-level capacity assessment framework able to capture not only individual skills levels, but also the organisational and institutional capacity influencing whether and how skills are used.

A variety of data sources provided the evidence base for the assessment. Primary data were collected through individual and group interviews with stakeholders in MEM, TANESCO, and other energy sector institutions during July 2016 and August 2017. However, the assessment also relied on secondary sources, including key policy, legal, and planning documents, existing capacity assessments, and the analysis of training data provided by MEM, TANESCO, and the World Bank. The training data were triangulated with the information provided by relevant organisational units in MEM and TANESCO on prior training and present needs in selected skills areas. This evidence helped answer three broad questions:

  • What are the formal mandates of MEM and TANESCO, and the responsibilities derived from them?
  • What are current capacity levels in MEM and TANESCO in relation to the execution of these mandates and responsibilities? Where are the gaps? What is preventing (or could prevent) the use of existing or new skills?
  • What can be done to address existing capacity gaps?


The assignment resulted in a TNA report and an outline of a future capacity development programme for skills improvements in the ministry and TANESCO. In addition, we provided a number of recommendations as to how the government and World Bank may strengthen the organisational capacity of the ministry and TANESCO to not only perform better, but also to better manage their own capacity development planning and monitoring. These recommendations were well received and they do, at the time of writing, appear to have influenced future World Bank interventions in the energy sector in Tanzania