The TDU is independently funded by Gatsby Africa and DFID.
Gatsby Africa was established to accelerate inclusive and resilient economic growth in Eastern Africa by demonstrating how key sectors can be transformed, with the aim of creating jobs, raising incomes and reducing poverty.

A Brief History

Lord Sainsbury set up the Gatsby Charitable Foundation in 1967 to support causes in areas he is passionate about, including science and economic development.

Gatsby has worked in Africa since 1985.  Up to 2006, it mainly funded NGOs, R&D organisations and private consultancies to undertake projects in two areas: local institution building and agricultural research and dissemination.

To help generate large-scale and lasting change in Africa, Gatsby needed to be more ambitious and make more of its freedoms as a private foundation. Rather than fund many different and isolated projects, Gatsby Africa would focus on partnering with government and the private sector to transform the growth of entire sectors – such as cotton – via a holistic, long-term approach. Gatsby Africa currently work in the Tanzanian cotton and textiles sectors, the tea sectors in Tanzania and Rwanda, and forestry sectors in Tanzania and Kenya.

The Gatsby Africa Approach

  • Work in sectors with the potential for competitiveness and where growth could benefit large numbers of people.
  • Help public and private stakeholders to tackle immediate constraints to growth as well as long-term structural challenges.

The Textile and Apparel Opportunity

Throughout history the textiles and apparel sector has repeatedly been an engine for development, kick-starting periods of rapid job creation and economic growth.  For countries with cost competitive labour rates, the sector provides the opportunity to adopt technology from elsewhere and create large numbers of jobs for semi-skilled workers.  Through this process, countries can acquire the organisational and technological capabilities vital to building future industries.  Recognising this, the Tanzanian government has highlighted the sector as crucial to achieving its aim of becoming a middle-income country by 2025.

The Vision

Strengthening the value chain, building the right supporting institutions and improving the policy and business environment could transform the sector. Existing firms would upgrade and expand. New investors from Tanzania and abroad would enter the sector. New firms would diversify the product range, rapidly increase the proportion of cotton upgraded in Tanzania, and create a boom in textile and garment exports. Ultimately a thriving and resilient sector would create tens of thousands of jobs, increasing exports, providing a higher value market for all of Tanzania’s cotton and contributing significantly to economic growth.