Creating an Affordable Public Service: Tanzania, 1995-1998


In the early 1990s, Tanzania launched one of the most wide-ranging civil service reform programs ever undertaken in a low-income country. Over a period of 15 years, reform leaders worked to create a government the country could afford and that would deliver services more effectively. They reduced the size of the civil service, reorganized some functions into separate agencies, changed recruitment practices, adjusted pay scales, and launched initiatives to improve performance. Reform leaders scored some notable successes, reducing the size of the civil service by more than 25% and dramatically improving some core economic services such as business licensing. They also encountered obstacles and made slow progress in some aspects of their program, particularly performance management. This case focuses mainly on the period 1995-1998.

Andrew Schalkwyk and Jennifer Widner wrote this case study on the basis of interviews conducted in Tanzania in 2008 and 2009. This case is part one of a series. Case published August 2012.
sequencing reform
inter-ministerial coordination
independent agencies
Focus Area(s)
Civil Service
Critical Tasks
Inter-ministerial coordination
Public management reform
Sequencing reform
Core Challenge
Principal-agent problem (delegation)
Country of Reform
Case Studies
Andrew Schalkwyk and Jennifer Widner