The Economic and Social Foundation (ESRF) is an independent Think Tank devoted to social and economic research, analysis, and capacity building of development for stakeholders in Tanzania and beyond. The overall mandate and primary objective of the Foundation is to initiate and coordinate studies in economic and social issues, to promote public understanding of economic and social conditions and public policy issues, to explore and analyze options of public economic and social policies and collaborate with the Government (central and local) of Tanzania, development partners, civil society organizations (CSOs), private sector, and other research institutions and entities with the purpose of enhancing the national capacity for public analysis and development management.


Since its inception, the Foundation has made an invaluable contribution to the development process in Tanzania and beyond by playing an instrumental role in the formulation and review of Policies, national medium and long term plans and strategies such as the Tanzania National Vision 2025, review and updating of sector policies in key sectors such as agriculture and tourism, shaping of regional and global level processes (SADC, EAC etc.) such as the current SDGs and building capacities of sub-national players through supporting the development and implementation of Regional Investment Guides. Lastly, because of COVID 19 that has affected countries all over the World; think tanks have had to adapt and move on-line, re-focus their agendas, respond to COVID 19 related research calls, or undertake necessary adjustments to their strategic plans.

Strategic Plan 2016 - 2020

The Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) is an independent policy research institution based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. ESRF was established in 1994 to respond to the growing need for a research think tank with a mandate to conduct research for policy analysis and capacity building. The Foundation’s primary objectives are therefore to undertake policy enhancing research, strengthen capabilities in policy analysis and decision making, as well as articulate and improve the understanding of policy options in government, the public sector, the donor community, and the growing private sector, and civil society.

ESRF has played a catalytic role in the country’s socio-economic reforms and policy development since its establishment. Since then the Foundation has evolved through five planning phases as presented in Table 1.1

Strategic Plan 2012 - 2015

The fifth phase medium term Strategic Plans (2012- 2015), taking into account the need to research and build capacity on priority issues highlighted during TanzaniaÕs mid-term development plan, the five-year plan – 1(FYP – 1 2011/12 to 2015/16), which focuses on addressing productive capacity constraints in addition to encompassing the objectives spelt out in MKUKUTA II, and other sector specific programmes and strategies. Our research agenda will focus on the issues central to the five-year plan of unleashing the countryÕs growth potentials. The planÕs core programmes reflect the objectives of MKUKUTA II, Mini-Tiger Plan 2020, and key sector strategies in Agriculture, Livestock, Mining, Tourism and similar Industries.

It also addresses challenges for a more inclusive growth necessary for the substantial reduction of poverty in Tanzania The broad themes are Growth and Wealth Creation; Governance; Social Services and the Quality of Life; Globalisation and Regional Integration, as well as Natural Resources and Environment Management. Under each broad theme several sub-themes have been developed reflecting outstanding issues. Sub-themes proposed are geared towards achieving specific objectives, and building on the broad ESRF objectives.