After ten years in power, Jakaya Kikwete’s presidency is coming to an end this October. With John Magufuli as the new Chama Cha Mapinduzi’s (CCM) standard bearer and the likely next president of Tanzania, Kikwete is increasingly becoming what Americans like to refer to as a lame duck.
So this is as good a time as any to ask: What legacy is Kikwete leaving behind?
While Tanzania retains its reputation as one of the more politically stable countries in the region, it now also boasts one of the fastest-growing economies in east Africa.
Looking at the growth sectors, infrastructure and services have become the biggest contributors to GDP during his presidency.
On the jobs front, Kikwete has not quite delivered on the 500,000-jobs-a-year promise. A meagre 1.1 million jobs have been created over the past nine years, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. The rate of unemployment, however, while still high at 10.3%, is nevertheless at its lowest in over a decade.
Meanwhile, inflation is relatively low at 5.3% as of last month, despite the recent depreciation of the value of the shilling, raising fears that the cost of living might rise as a result.
Foreign direct investment has doubled in the past five years to almost $2 billion.
And finally, what does business think about the future of Tanzania’s economy? In 2013, business confidence was at 55%. Now, only 34% expect the economy to perform better next year than it did in 2015/16.
Whoever emerges as the next president of Tanzania inherits a country whose economic fundamentals are strong. The challenge now, can they do a better job of making sure some of the gains made over the last ten years are spread to the larger populace?
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