Tag Archives: Big Results Now

Charged numbers: access to electricity in Tanzania

off-grid-light

Mwananchi fp 120615In her budget speech to parliament yesterday, Minister of Finance, Saada Mkuya Salim, gave some positive figures on access to electricity in Tanzania. Between 2011 and 2014, she said, access to electricity increased from 7% to 36% (see page 44).

The figure made it onto the front page of Mwananchi newspaper.

Numbers that don’t sound plausible are worth checking out, especially when presented by politicians. So I decided to check the sources. Continue reading

Three (government) statistics that could be illegal under Tanzania’s new Statistics Act

Updated 11/4/15, with responses from the Big Results Now team and the Ministry of Water – see below.

Justin Sandefur of the Centre for Global Development (CGD), writing in the Washington Post, presented five charts that may soon be illegal in Tanzania. He was referring to the Statistics Act, recently passed by the Tanzanian parliament, which makes it a criminal offence to publish false statistics, or statistics “that may result in the distortion of facts.”. This is punishable by a minimum 10m/- ($6,000) fine and/or a minimum 3 year prison sentence.

Here, I have done something similar. But I only refer to statistics produced or cited by the Tanzanian government itself.

My purpose is not to accuse any particular part of the government of deliberately misleading people, but instead to point out some of the difficulties of making it an offence to publish false or distorting statistics. Continue reading

When water doesn’t spout from money: the challenge of water provision in rural Tanzania

This blogpost was originally published on the Ideas for Africa blog, run by the International Growth Centre (IGC) of the London School of Economics and Oxford University. It is co-written with Ruth Carlitz of UCLA.

A few weeks ago, the Tanzanian NGO Twaweza released a research brief detailing the ongoing challenge of access to clean water in the country. The brief showed that just over half of all Tanzanians (54%) obtain their drinking water from an ‘improved’ source; the figure for rural citizens is even lower at just 42%. These findings become even more striking when put in the context of recent investments. As shown in the figure below, Tanzania’s current level of access is similar to that of 20 years ago, despite a lot of money having been spent.

Figure 2 from “Money Flows, Water Trickles,” Sauti za Wananchi Brief No. 10.

Figure 2 from “Money Flows, Water Trickles,” Sauti za Wananchi Brief No. 10.

Continue reading