Regulatory innovations in Tanzania: The role of administrative capabilities and regulatory governance

Annemijn van Gorp, Carleen Maitland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to show that, while in many low income countries inefficient regulatory regimes have been blamed for impeding ICT market development, Tanzania constitutes a remarkable exception. This study aims to identify the organizational and contextual factors that have enabled the Tanzanian Communications Regulatory Agency (TCRA) to implement innovative regulations, including a fully converged licensing framework as the first country on the continent, and how subsequently these regulations have influenced market development. Design/methodology/approach - The analysis is based on case study data gathered through 20 face-to-face interviews in 2006 as well as secondary data gathered from government documents, news reports and company web sites. Findings - The research finds that the market developments and regulatory innovations were due in part to Tanzania's Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA)'s high level of autonomy, afforded by independent funding mechanisms and lack of capacity of the Ministry, which pressed the regulator to play a greater role in policy making than is found in other countries. Further, TCRA's significant internal focus on capacity building has also enabled strong regulatory governance. Practical implications - The results provide further evidence of the role that institutional endowments and regulatory governance play in fostering policy reform. Originality/value - The research examines regulatory innovations in a region typically associated with regulatory inefficiencies. It identifies institutional factors and subsequently shows how in a very low income country they may be conducive to effective regulatory governance and market development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-77
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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