President John Magufuli introduced further limitations on Tanzania’s already-narrow democratic space with amendments to a number of laws, which increased government control over civic sectors. However, Magufuli died on March 17, 2021, and was replaced by Samia Suluhu Hassan, who indicated that she intended to deviate from her predecessor’s course in several areas.

COVID-19-related effects on the economy were limited, since a lockdown was avoided. Heavy declines in the tourism sector were offset by increased earnings from gold exports. However, the domestic economy suffered from a weakened demand, with poor households being most affected.

Magufuli’s government had continued to vigorously fight persistently endemic corruption, fraud and embezzlement of public funds, as well as continuing underperformance in the public sector – albeit using sometimes-questionable approaches. Efforts should be made to enhance democratic and participatory governance structures and procedures, and to strengthen state institutions.

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