Commissioned Research

The Department of Commissioned Research conducts demand driven research/advisory services to a broad range of ESRF stakeholders. The core activities of the department include conducting demand driven policy research, writing proposals and expression of interests for consultancy assignments, and project management and dissemination of consultancy reports. Most of the projects are on the Policy formulation and Policy Review, sector strategy development, impact assessment studies, and Country strategies for various programmes, baseline surveys, feasibility studies, strategic plans and other socio-economic policy research projects.

Ongoing Projects

Making Agricultural Trade Sustainable (MATS)

Funded by the European Union (EU) and Coordinated by the University of Helsinki-Finland


The MATS project aims to identify key leverage points that foster positive and reduce negative impacts of agricultural trade on environmental sustainability and human well-being.

The specific objectives include (i) reviewing and characterizing the connections between agricultural trade, investments, and sustainability (ii) identifying indicators and tools for a systemic analysis of these interactions (iii) providing a comprehensive understanding of the linkages between trade, sustainability, and well-being (iv) analyzing the role of institutional, regulatory, and legal frameworks on agricultural trade’s impacts on the Sustainable Development Goals-SDGs (v) deriving transition pathways for changes in trade relations through a multi-stakeholder approach informed by research on transformative change, and (vi) enhancing dialogue between civil society, stakeholders, and policymakers.


The project timeframe: July 2021 to November 2024

Useful Links:

(1)  Project Documentary

    1. (a) Case study 4_1  Overview of the MATS project
    2. (b) Case study 4_2 Banana Value Chain – Uganda
    3. (c) Case study 4_3 Cocoa Value Chain – Ghana
    4. (d) Case study 4_4  Goat Value Chain  – Ethiopia 
    5. (e) Case study 4_5  Cassava Value Chain – Tanzania

(2)  General website:

(3)   Case Studies

Formulation of the National Export Strategy

Commissioned by Ministry of Industry and Trade


This assignment focuses on developing Tanzania’s Export Strategy that will in turn enhance sustainable productive and export capacities for Tanzania products, expand potential competitive channels for exportation of goods and services through markets and products growth and diversification.


The project timeframe: 2021 to 2024.

Food Systems Transformation in Southern Africa for One Health (FoSTA-Health)

Funded by the European Union (EU) and Coordinated by FANRPAN


The FoSTA-Health initiative aims to create and implement a vision for food systems transformation in four Southern African countries (Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia) to enhance One Health outcomes. The project’s goals include building a comprehensive understanding of the interactions between human, animal, and environmental health; developing a novel modeling framework to explore transformation pathways over time and space, considering factors like climate change and political instability; co-creating strategies, policies, and governance approaches for transformative change; and fostering collaboration and equity among diverse stakeholders. FoSTA-Health also focuses on long-term community building among various stakeholders, academics, and decision-makers to promote evidence-based, sustainable, and equitable transformation in the region’s food systems.


The project timeframe: November 2022 to March 2026

Useful Link:

Completed Projects

COVID-19 Macroeconomic Policy Response in Africa (CoMPRA)

Funded by International Development Research Center (IDRC) and Sub-contracted by Southern African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA)


The project focused on informing macroeconomic policy development process in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for more inclusive, climate-resilient, effective, and gender responsive measures through evidence-based research to mitigate social and economic impact, promote recovery from pandemic in the short-term and position LMICs in the long-term for a more climate-resilient, sustainable, and stable future.

Useful Links:

The project timeframe: July 2020 to January 2024
Development of Stakeholders’ Management Plan for the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project (JNHPP)

Commissioned by the Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (TANESCO)


The main objective of this study was to develop a comprehensive and effective stakeholders’ management plan for the JNHPP to ensure that stakeholders are effectively engaged, managed, and communicated with throughout the project lifecycle. The plan also identified the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders and outline strategies for managing their expectations, addressing stakeholder concerns, and promoting stakeholders’ support for the project.


The project timeframe: January 2023 to January 2024

Evaluation of the Tanzania Development Vision (TDV) 2025

Commissioned by the Ministry of Finance and Planning.


The study aimed to comprehensively assess the progress and challenges in implementing the Tanzania Development Vision (TDV) 2025 up to the fiscal year 2021/22. Specific objectives included evaluating the achievements and setbacks in meeting the goals and targets, exploring the various factors behind successes and failures, examining the relevance and sustainability of key strategies, reviewing resource management, and analyzing the impact of both domestic and international dynamics, such as politics, socio-economic factors, and global trade. Lastly, the study proposed policy recommendations and key areas of focus for shaping the new Vision, drawing on lessons learned.


The project timeframe: March to September 2023

Impact Assessment in Local Government Authorities Supported by Tanzania Third Poverty Reduction Project (TPRP III)

Commissioned by Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF).


The objective of this assessment was to evaluate the extent to which TPRP III through OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) support has achieved its development objective and met the expectations of the intended beneficiaries in the spheres of access, use and satisfaction of service provided through assets created from subprojects implementation. The output of this work provided TASAF with inputs in the development of TPRP IV with an addition of 3 more regions, funded by OPEC in 2021.


The project timeframe: November 2019 to March 2021

Evaluation of the Second Five Year Development Plan (FYDP II) of 2015/16-2020/21

Commissioned by the Ministry of Finance and Planning


The main objectives of the  evaluation of the FYDP II included assessing overall performance of the implementation of FYDP II in line with agreed objectives, targets and performance indicators; evaluate the use of management for results towards the implementation of FYDP II; review the adequacy of FYDP II financing and utilization of the sources of finance; identify challenges encountered in the implementation of  FYDP II and propose remedial measures; and identify untapped opportunities towards the attainment of the FYDP II objectives and targets; and provide policy recommendations.

The evaluation intended to identify and document achievement, gaps and challenges, lessons learnt, best practices and provide the Government and its stakeholders with inputs to inform the preparation of FYDP III.


The project timeframe: 2020 to 2021.

Impact Evaluation of REA Funded Projects (2007-2020)

Commissioned by Rural Energy Agency (REA)


The focus was to carry out evaluation of projects that had been implemented by REA from 2007 to 2021 in all 24 regions of Mainland Tanzania. The aim of the evaluation was to present lessons learned in respect to what works, under what circumstances and why. It also aimed to ensure that the process of continuous improvement was systematic and consistent.

Specifically, ESRF focused on the evaluation of the six proposed projects namely, Rural Electrification under Turnkey Phase II; Village Electrification Initiative under the 400kVA Backbone; Village electrification under Makambako – Songea 220kV Transmission line; Rural Electrification Under Turnkey Phase II in Singida and Kilimanjaro; Sustainable Solar Market Packages – Phase II (SSMP II); and Lighting Rural Tanzania Competition Projects 2014.

The project timeframe: January to September 2021.

Agriculture and Food-System Resilience: Increasing Capacity and Advising Policy (AFRICAP)

Funded by the Global Challenge Research Fund

The project aimed at achieving sustainable and resilient transformation of agriculture and food systems by establishing academic partnerships among United Kingdom and African research and policy institutions and develop capacity across these partnerships in the field of climate smart agriculture and food systems.

The main objectives and key motivation of the programme were linked to building the evidence base for climate-smart agri-food systems; developing climate smart agri-food system pathways; building capacity for pathway implementation through policy design and evaluation; and cross-cutting training and capacity building.


The project timeframe: 2018 to 2022.

Useful Link:

Formulation of the Textile Subsector Development Strategy (TSSDS) 2022-2032

Commissioned by Gatsby Africa


The objective of the assignment was to develop a National Textile Subsector Development Strategy (TSSDS) for promotion of growth of the textile and clothing value chains thereby contributing to the manufacturing and export-led socioeconomic development. It included identifying existing and potential constraints and barriers to textile subsector growth and proposed immediate and longer-term practical solutions; harnessed existing and emerging opportunities including emerging technologies and production methodologies; determination of shifts in fashion industry; identification of changing market dynamics and consumer behavior; upcoming textile and apparel microenterprises and SME; as well as adoption of evolving digitalization.


The project timeframe: 2021 to 2023.

National Youth Policy (2008) Review


The Ministry of Information, Culture, Artists and Sports contracted ESRF to undertake a situation analysis of the National Youth Policy implementation since 2008. The purpose of the review was to provide initial evidence of the extent to which youth policy is being mainstreamed in various laws and policies in Tanzania, identify the gaps and provide initial recommendations to the Ministry on future policy development.

The project timeframe: November 2015-June 2016

National Energy Policy Review (2003)


The ESRF was commissioned by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals to review and redraft the 2003 National Energy Policy, taking into account social economic and structural changes and global energy sector development trends towards energy independence, efficiency and sources diversification so as to stimulate domestic and foreign private capital flows into energy sector.

The project timeframe: November 2015-April 2016

National Microfinance Policy (2000) Review


The project was commissioned by the Ministry of Finance, and it included analysis of the current microfinance sector in Tanzania, assessing support to banks as potential partners for delivering microfinance services, and exploring the existing credit funds and consolidating them.

The focus was to create a platform for streamlining the financial system, regulatory and supervisory roles to manage monetary stability and liquidity and provide appropriate machinery for tracking the activities of supply and demand sides of the financial services in Tanzania.

The project timeframe: July 2013-June 2015

National Environmental Policy Review (1997)


ESRF was commissioned by the Vice President’s Office to review the National Environmental Policy (1997). The review objective was to update the policy considering the new and emerging environmental challenges and analyze the sectoral and cross sectoral issues related to environmental conservation in Tanzania.

The revised policy was meant to provide a guiding framework to both public and private sectors and other players and ensures integration of all policies in a way that all stakeholders work in a coordinated manner to achieve national development goals.

The project timeframe: June 2014-June 2015.