Science, Technology and InnovationTanzania, The Past, The Present and The Future.

The blog post reflects my current role as a committee member reviewing Tanzania's 1996 Science and Technology Policy.

Jumanne Rajabu Mtambalike
4 min readMay 17, 2024

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be trusted by my country to work on documents and tools that will shape our country's present and future. Already, If I die today, I want my daughter to know her father was responsible for;

  1. Designing The National Innovation Framework that will allow us to prioritize and measure critical aspects of our national innovation systems.
  2. Reviewing The National Science and Technology Policy of 1996 — a policy that has shaped our science and technology sector for the past 25 years, and its revision possibly will shape the industry in the next 30 years or so.
  3. Governing the "Think Tank" of our education sector, Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE), to develop the new curriculum and tools to ensure she and other Tanzanian kids receive a high-quality education that responds to society's and the market's needs.

I have been involved in these task forces and teams, with some more successful than others. My current team brings something unique: their rich information about the history of science and technology sector governance in the country. Actually, one of the team members, Dr. Dugushilu Mafunda, was almost my age when he was working with a team of older colleagues to write the 1996 policy.

The Scanned Copy of a Typewritten Version of The National Science and Technology Policy For Tanzania — 1985

The Past

Working with a team of decorated seasonal Professors and experts can be intimidating sometimes. It gets worse when they have been there before, seeing this and that in the sector you were working in, even before you came into existence. Blended leadership is critical to these types of discussion and co-creation. You need both the wisdom of the past and the exposure of the future.

Dr. Mafunda shared a deep history of Science and Technology in Tanzania, which I intend to summarize in a paragraph. What shaped the history of Tanzania's science and technology is the drive of Pan-Africanists of the past and their dream to see Africa develop enough manpower and critical skills to capitalize on science and technology for socioeconomic development. Much of what informed Tanzania's Science and Technology Policy 1985 was influenced by the Lagos plan of action for Africa's economic development 1980–2000. A document that, honestly, I never knew existed.

The two documents—the policy and the plan of action—have been discussed extensively. You can access the 1996 policy and the plan of action online, but I might be the only person posting the 1985’s one online now. We scanned the old copy from Dr. Mafunda. Hence, you can read the documents to understand where we came from as a country. The bottom line is that the effort to use ST&I as a tool for socioeconomic transformation hasn't started today, and there is much to learn from the past.

Important to Note—The best thing that happened during my encounter with the policy writers was hearing their thoughts and dreams of where they wanted to see their country thirty years ago. It has pushed me to dream even bigger for my dear Tanzania.

The Present

Reviewing these documents and finding relevance and strategic alignments with existing country priorities, missions, and dreams makes me think—how and where can we do better? So much is happening now with urban innovation ecosystems and startups, but that is not everything in science and technology. How we set and measure the right indicators is critical.

In the National Innovation Framework, we have tried to dig deep and examine the National Innovation Systems beyond the fuss of urban innovation systems to examine 360 degrees of how science, technology, and innovation can promote and accelerate the growth of our economy. The document has been signed and is available for access. I would like to hear your thoughts on its relevance to our time. Have we met your expectations?

The Future

I understand unique talents and brains have been selected to shape our Vision 2050, and they are doing great work to reach out to different stakeholders for insights. Foresighting is vital in designing future-proofed strategies and policies. As we review these policies, I constantly ask myself how we ensure relevance in the long run. How do we ask the right questions? How do we implement them?

It is important to note that as much as I enjoyed the conversation with Dr Mafunda, I don't want to sit down 30 years later with a younger version of myself explaining where we got it all wrong.

We talked about Industrial Revolutions (IRs) and emerging and future technologies. But in the end, technology is just a tool. People are everything. People mean decisions, executions, priorities, and implementation. May the Almighty help us to realize the fruit of our work.

You can share your thoughts with me through



Jumanne Rajabu Mtambalike

Entrepreneur, TZ Patriot, Loves Tech, Founder, Project Management Consulting firm, Co-Founded and Sahara Accelerator.