Briefing on business & human rights issues in Tanzania, includes tourism, infrastructure, agribusiness & mining sectors

Author: Commission for Human Rights & Good Governance (Tanzania), Business & Human Rights Tanzania & IPIS , Published on: 17 December 2018

"Business & Human Rights in Tanzania: Briefing 2018 Quarter 3: July - September"

With Tanzania’s economic landscape developing at a fast pace, relationships between the government, (foreign) investors, businesses, and local communities are constantly evolving. Businesses investing and operating in Tanzania are uniquely placed to promote local growth and development, if they responsibly respect and support public interests such as health, safety, environment, labour rights and human rights in general. These conditions are however not always in place, as awareness on business and human rights remains limited in Tanzania. The annual report on human rights and business by the Legal and Human Rights Centre highlights the harm that businesses cause when they do not comply with labour laws and regulations. These include the right to work, the right to freedom of association and the right to health. The report also indicates that over 70% of workers are unaware of their labour rights and duties. It therefore recommends the government to strengthen regulation and monitoring of the business sector and to create more awareness amongst the population…

Investing in corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming increasingly important. CSR is the strategy whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns, and the expectations and needs of a wider community in their business operations.  CSR is not only a legal obligation in Tanzania’s extractive sector, it is also a necessity for companies to have their activities accepted by the communities that surround their operations. For example, Acacia Mining’s educational and health projects near its Shinyanga mines show the positive impact of business’ CSR efforts. Delays in community water projects or misappropriation of CSR funds in Tarime, on the other hand, are some of the issues that exist. CSR and the so-called ‘social license to operate’ (SLO) is often a significant challenge, as a study into the extent and impact of SLO in the Tanzanian petroleum and mining sectors confirms. However helpful CSR contributions are, these can never replace the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, as set out under the UN Guiding Principles.

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Related companies: Acacia (formerly African Barrick Gold)