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World Bank and REGROW Project in Tanzania: A Timeline of Key Events

The World Bank suspended its funding for the project following years of pressure from affected Tanzanians and human rights groups.

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Dar es Salaam. Tanzania has promised to proceed with its controversial Resilient Natural Resource Management for Tourism and Growth Project (REGROW) even without funding from the World Bank, which pulled out of the project following allegations that human rights abuses have accompanied the project’s implementation.

We look at the key events leading up to the funding suspension which occurred thanks to years of pressure from affected Tanzanians and human rights groups, which accused the Bretton Woods institution of violating its own policies by continuing to fund the project:

September 28, 2017: World Bank approves US$150 million, or Sh388.6 billion, credit for the implementation of the Resilient Natural Resource Management for Tourism and Growth Project, or REGROW, to improve conservation management in Tanzania.

June 6, 2018: Tanzania commences implementation of the six-year project, setting 2023 as its deadline.

October 25, 2022: Tanzania cancels registration of five villages, with a combined population of 21,252, ordering villagers to move to pave the way for the expansion of the Ruaha National Park (RUNAPA). It also cancels the registration of 47 other sub-villages from 14 villages for the exercise.

READ MORE: Experts in Tanzania Want Conservation ‘Decolonised’ As World Bank Pulls Out of Controversial Project

January 17, 2023: Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa visits Mbarali and announces that 34 of the 39 villages declared to be within RUNAPA will be spared from eviction. However, residents of the remaining five villages will be relocated from the park after being compensated for their land.

February 13, 2023: Reports emerge that 852 villagers surrounding RUNAPA have filed a case at the High of Tanzania, Mbeya, to stop authorities from evicting them from their residential and agricultural land.

June 20, 2023: Two Tanzanians, who preferred to remain anonymous, wrote a letter to the World Bank Accountability Mechanism claiming that the institution’s continued funding of the REGROW project contradicts its policies because project implementation involves human rights abuses.

August 21, 2023: The World Bank team visits Tanzania to conduct an assessment of the REGROW project, then submits its report and recommendations to the World Bank Board of Executive Directors on September 19, 2023, recommending that the project be investigated.

September 28, 2023: The Oakland Institute, a U.S.-based think tank appointed by Tanzanians to represent them in their case at the World Bank, issues a report, Unaccountable & Complicit, associating the Bretton Woods institution with numerous human rights abuses through its funding of the REGROW project.

READ MORE: World Bank Will Investigate Human Rights Violations in the Bank-Funded REGROW Project in Tanzania

November 15, 2023: The World Bank Board of Executive Directors agrees with the recommendations from the assessment team that visited Tanzania to investigate the REGROW project.

February 2024: The Oakland Institute launches a petition pressurising the World Bank to stop funding the REGROW project, claiming that by funding the project the institution is abetting evictions and human rights abuses. 

April 18, 2024: The World Bank suspends its funding for the REGROW project following significant pressure from activists who claimed that the project is involved in human rights abuses.

April 22, 2024: Oakland Institute Executive Director Anuradha Mittal welcomes the bank’s decision, stating that the World Bank’s decision to suspend funding for the REGROW project is “a crucial step towards accountability and justice.”

April 23, 2024: Tanzania denies charges of human rights abuses in implementing the REGROW project, with government chief spokesperson Mobhare Matinyi saying that the project will continue despite the World Bank’s funding suspension.

Lukelo Francis is The Chanzo’s journalist from Dar es Salaam. He is available at

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