Promoting water infrastructure investment to accelerate access to water in Tanzania: A legal analysis

Author JS Ombella

ISSN: 2521-2613
Affiliations: LLB (Mzumbe University), LLM (UWC) SA. Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Mzumbe University-Tanzania
Source: Africa Nazarene University Law Journal, 2020, Volume 8, Issue 1, p. 172 – 198


Access to water in Tanzania is reportedly low. However, Tanzania is endowed with plenty of water resources both on the surface and underground. Notably, the uneven occurrence and natural distribution of such water resources limit many communities’ access to water. To guarantee access to water, there is a need to invest in the relevant infrastructures for extraction, treatment and supplying of water from water resources-rich areas to water-scarce areas. Investments in such infrastructures require a sound investment climate, finance, and technological expertise, which seem to be lacking in Tanzania and many other African countries. The absence of a robust legal framework that will cater to the promotion of investment in the water sector seems to be a contributory factor on poor infrastructure in the water sector leading to low access to water. This is because the poor legal framework limits private sector involvement and investment in the water sector due to fear of the risks involved, the lack of awareness of such investment opportunity, and the unclear framework of their participation to name but a few challenges. This article reviews the African regional (African Ministerial Council on Water Declarations) initiative on investment in the water sector and relevant domestic laws on water sector investments. The review reveals that Tanzania’s policy and legal framework is desirous to foster private water infrastructure investment. However, there are legal challenges in respect of the absence of water sector-specific investment incentives, inadequate data on the water sector and investment opportunities, limited human resources, narrow scope of domestic resource mobilisation and overlapping mandate of the established institutions, among others. To guarantee improved access to water Tanzanian water sector laws must address these challenges inhibiting the potential of private sector investment.