Tanzania is short of skilled and efficient manpower to drive the economy, according to the World Bank.
These include the critical labour force needed to spearhead industrialisation and on-going efforts to enable the country attain the middle income economy status in 2025.
“A major constraint for Tanzania to achieve development is that it does not have sufficient workforce of skilled labour,” said World Bank’s country director Bella Bird.
She was speaking during the official launching of the $120 million (about Sh245 billion) Education and Skills for Productive Jobs Project (ESPJ) funded by the World Bank.
According to her, new entrants to the country’s labour market, currently estimated at 800,000 a year, is projected to rise to 1.6 million in 2030.
However, she argued productivity was low due to low skills and challenged the institutions of higher learning to train the critical mass of skilled manpower to drive the economy. She said while 84 per cent of the entire country’s population is low-skilled, about 40 per cent of the local firms identify lack of workforce skills as one of their key business constraints.
Attaining middle income status would require a transformation of the population’s current skill composition to 55 per cent low-skilled, 33 medium skilled and 12 per cent high skilled.
Ms Bird added that Tanzania also ranked poorly in the critical mass of educated people, especially the graduates, relative to its large population compared to other African countries.
Only about five per cent of the country’s population have gone through universities and allied higher education, with more fewer having specialized in science, technology and innovation.
The World Bank wants at least 20 per cent of Tanzania’s population to at least be graduates of the higher learning institutions to drive the economy by 2025.
“Human development and skills are critical for industrialization,” she emphasized, calling for close collaboration between the government and the private sector in skills development.
ESPJ, which is being implemented by the ministry of Education, Science and Technology and Vocational Training, aims at strengthening the institutional capacity of the skills development system.
Its major focus will be in tourism and hospitality, agriculture, agro-business and agro-processing, transport and logistics, construction, information and communication technology and energy.
The executive director of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TSPSF), Mr Godfrey Simbeye, called for further involvement of the private sector in identifying the suitable training for the current labour market demands.
The ESPJ project was launched at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) on the outskirts of Arusha by the minister for Education, Science and Technology Prof. Joyce Ndalichako.
Also inaugurated were four centres of excellence in science, technology and innovation, two each at the Nelson Mandela University and the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Morogoro.