Category Archives: uncategorized

Extractive resource politics and government-community engagement in Tanzania: a case of natural gas

Creator: Poncian, Japhace
Relation: University of Newcastle Research Higher Degree Thesis
Resource Type: thesis
Date: 2019
Description: Research Doctorate – Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Description: Managing natural resources continues to be a major challenge in resource-rich developing countries.
This has produced a rich scholarly literature examining the paradox between resource endowments and negative socio-economic outcomes, commonly referred to as the resource curse. There seems to be a consensus that the core problem is one of poor resource governance. If resource governance can be improved, it might be possible to minimise or avoid the trap of the resource curse. Consequently, efforts have been put into promoting better governance of natural resources by improving revenue management, transparency in extractive activities and institution building. In recent years attention has turned to promoting community engagement as part of the effort to improve resource governance. It is the relationship between community engagement and resource governance policy strategies to manage extractive resources that provides the focus for this thesis. A growing weight of scholarly opinion has emerged supporting the view that community engagement in governance processes improves livelihoods, empowers communities, resolves conflicts and promotes resource and/or environmental conservation. For many governments and regional bodies in Africa the real and potential significance of community engagement has prompted its integration into their resource governance policies. This has been particularly pronounced in the area of renewable resources governance where governments have been open to ideas about community engagement. But in the area of extractive resources there has been considerably less emphasis placed on meaningfully integrating community engagement into the governance of extractive resources. In Tanzania, there appears to have been a concerted effort by the government to initiate and promote community engagement strategies in the extractive resources sector as part of its policy reforms. However, questions arise as to what the government means by ‘community engagement’ and how it has sought to promote that. Exploring these questions forms the central thread of this thesis, which in turn involves pursuing answers to several other questions, such as: What policies have been developed and implemented by the government to bring about effective community engagement in natural gas governance? To what extent have these policies succeeded in realising the government’s aims? What might be the strengths and limitations of current government-community engagement arrangements? To address these questions, this thesis has adopted a qualitative case study approach informed by a libertarian socialist framework. The findings from this study show that the government frames community engagement in natural gas governance around two main issues: 1) economic participation, and 2) infrastructure safety and protection. Its strategies for engagement centre upon creating economic benefits and ensuring sector stability. While these are mostly in line with many of the expectations of the local communities in Mtwara and Lindi, these communities want more than just economic benefits. They want to participate in and influence decisions about natural gas development and, more importantly, about how they benefit from gas projects. In this respect, and despite the government’s formal statements and policy frameworks, it appears that the government has not empowered the communities in the ways anticipated by those communities. Rather, the evidence suggests two things. First, that the engagement is experienced by the communities as manipulation rather than as genuine participation in decision-making. Second, the government’s idea of community engagement is seen as a means to serve the government’s own agenda. In part this is accentuated by the fact that there is no requisite government policy for engagement in decision-making processes as the only policy framework in place caters for economic participation. Hence, this thesis concludes that there is a need for a formal community engagement policy to be developed and implemented that is not simply focused on economic participation. Rather, such an engagement policy should provide a framework to define and guide community engagement in ways that empower communities to be part of the planning and decision-making processes in the governance of extractive resources. This would also enable the government to add real meaning to its goal of economic participation in ways that would assist it to achieve balanced socio-economic development and well-being and improve Tanzania’s chances of avoiding the trap of the resource curse.

Rights Copyright 2019 Japhace Poncian

Petrostate Blog for the Period of 01 May 2019 to 12 May 2019


Policy implementation under stress: Central-local government relations in property tax administration in Tanzania
Inter-organisational cooperation in revenue collection has received limited attention in the tax administration literature. Recent experiences from Tanzania offer a unique opportunity to examine opportunities and challenges facing such cooperation between central and local government agencies in a developing country context. Read more here

Continue reading Petrostate Blog for the Period of 01 May 2019 to 12 May 2019

Petrostate blog for the period 11.03.2019 to 24.03.2019

Petroleum’s potential impact on future state-society relations in Tanzania
A new brief by CMI and REPOA under the Petrostate program.

Tanzanian citizens continue to have high expectations about the benefits that the country’s emerging petroleum sector will provide them with, yet they possess low knowledge about the sector. Policy makers should take concrete steps to rectify this knowledge-expectation gap by providing updated information in accessible and easy-to-understand formats. Revenue transparency should be encouraged, and more research should be carried out to improve understanding of how the prospect of future petroleum revenues may shape citizen attitudes and behaviors. Read more here

Continue reading Petrostate blog for the period 11.03.2019 to 24.03.2019

China and Africa financial partnership; what is the story?

Over the weekend, I happened to have been deep into my thoughts and trying to figure out what to write and tahdah…I had a chat with one the experts in the extractive sector in Tanzania. I asked, what one thing would you suggest at the moment in the context of your field? After a long discussion of what was going on here and there, my interest picked on the “New Giant in town”, CHINA.

Continue reading China and Africa financial partnership; what is the story?

Petrostate Blog for the period 17.09.2018 to 30.09.2018

The evolving role of CSR in international development: Evidence from Canadian extractive companies’ involvement in community health initiatives in low-income countries
By engaging in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), transnational companies operating in the extractive industries ‘space’ verbally commit to preventing environmental impacts and providing health services in low-income countries. However, the actual impacts of CSR initiatives can be difficult to assess.

Continue reading Petrostate Blog for the period 17.09.2018 to 30.09.2018

Petrostate Blog for the Period of 25 June 2018 to 08 July 2018


Transparency initiatives and Tanzania’s extractive industry governance
This paper examines Tanzania’s adoption and implementation of transparency in extractive sector governance. The paper examined Tanzania’s EITI implementation process, its reconciliation reports and how these reports are used by the parliament, media and civil society to push for governance improvements in the sector.

Continue reading Petrostate Blog for the Period of 25 June 2018 to 08 July 2018

PetroStateBlog for the period 19.02 to 04.03. 2018


The research work by Uongozi brings to light social license to operate in Tanzania. The concept of a social license to operate (SLO) has become a key issue for companies, researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders in the extractive sector. Securing ‘social permission’ for extractive activities is increasingly seen as critical for the future profitability and sustainability of the sector. Continue reading PetroStateBlog for the period 19.02 to 04.03. 2018

Petrostate Blog for the period 05.02.2018 to 18.02. 2018


International Gas Outlook and Implications for Developing Tanzania’s Gas Projects
A briefing by Uongozi institute and The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment CCSI reviews recent international gas developments and considers the implications for the development of proposed offshore gas projects in Tanzania. International Gas Outlook and Implications for Developing Tanzania’s Gas Projects outlines trade-offs that negotiators should consider as they seek to determine domestic gas allocation in contracts with extraction companies.  Continue reading Petrostate Blog for the period 05.02.2018 to 18.02. 2018