Good Governance, Efficiency and the Provision of Planned Land for Orderly Development in African Cities: The Case of the 20,000 Planned Land Plots Project in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


In many African cities, governments have been unable to provide sufficient appropriately located and priced planned and serviced urban land to meet demand. As a result, informal settlements are growing faster than the rest of the city. Efforts to deal with this situation are hampered by several factors including lack of resources to acquire and service land to forestall haphazard development. In 2003, the Ministry of Lands, using borrowed funds from the Treasury, undertook an ambitious land servicing project in Dar es Salaam. The aims were to: alleviate the shortage of surveyed and serviced urban plots; tackle the rapid increase of informal settlements; control land speculation; address corruption; complement the national drive to reduce poverty; develop satellite towns; and implement the ruling Party’s manifesto on liveable human settlements. This paper evaluates this undertaking from a good governance point of view. The Project was efficiently implemented. Over 40,000 plots were produced and sold; the invested billions of shillings were recouped several times over; and replication was enabled. However, it increased poverty among those whose land was acquired; and fuelled the growth of informal settlements. With less than 17% of the plots categorized as low cost, the Project was not pro-poor. Outcomes included the realization that land had value that could be unlocked with servicing. This has spawned several projects involving servicing land for sale, undertaken by other authorities and the private sector. This, however, is excluding low income households. The Project’s achievements were realized at the expense of good land governance exemplified by: lack of coordination among key players; shortfalls in transparency, public participation, institutional decentralisation and inclusiveness; and neglect of environmental fallouts. Low income households were in practice excluded from this and subsequent money-driven land delivery schemes, a trend that needs to be reversed to avoid social polarization.

Share and Cite:

Kironde, J. M. L. (2015) Good Governance, Efficiency and the Provision of Planned Land for Orderly Development in African Cities: The Case of the 20,000 Planned Land Plots Project in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Current Urban Studies, 3, 348-367. doi: 10.4236/cus.2015.34028.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] African Development Bank (2014). Gender, Poverty and Environmental Indicators on African Countries. Tunis: Economic and Social Statistics Division.
[2] Cheshire, P., & Vermeulen, W. (2008). Land Markets and Their Regulations: The Welfare of Economics of Planning.
[3] FAO (Food and Agricultural Organisation) (2007). Good Governance in Land Tenure and Administration. FAO Land Tenure Studies 9. Rome: FAO.
[4] Kamuzora, P., Ngindo, C., & Mutasingwa, L. (2009). Tanzania Ethical Issues in Urban Land Administration. Research Report on Strategic Studies on Corruption Submitted to the Prevention and Combating Corruption Bureau (PCCB). Dar es Salaam: Institute of Development Studies, University of Dar es Salaam.
[5] Kironde, J. M. L. (1995). The Evolution of the Land Use Structure of Dar es Salaam 1890-1990: A Study in the Effects of Land Policy. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Nairobi, Kenya.
[6] Kironde, J. M. L. (2006). The Regulatory Framework, Unplanned Development and Urban Poverty: Findings from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Land Use Policy, 23, 460-472.
[7] Kombe, W. J., & Kreibich, W. (2006). Governance of Informal Urbanisation in Tanzania. Dar es Salaam: Mkuki na Nyota.
[8] Misigaro, A. (2013). Orodha ya Halmashauri za Jiji, Manispaa, Wilaya, Miji na Mamlaka za Miji Midogo Zilizo na Mipango ya Jumla (General Planning Schemes). Unpublished Mimeo, Dar es Salaam: Ministry of Lands.
[9] Mkenda, D. S. (2006). The Effects of Dar es Salaam Twenty Thousand Plots Project on the Poor in the Peri-Urban Zone. MSc (Urban Planning and Management) Dissertation, Dar es Salaam: University of Dar es Salaam.
[10] MLHHSD (Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development) (2012). Budget Speech by the Minister of Lands to Parliament, July 2011/2012. Dar es Salaam: Government Printer.
[11] MLHHSD (2015). Budget Speech by the Minister of Lands to Parliament, July 2014/2015. Dar es Salaam: Government Printer.
[12] Mollel, L. (2006). The Rise and Fall of Informal Settlements in Cities. Proceedings of the African Regional Commonwealth Association for Surveying and Land Economy (CASLE) Conference on Sustainable Land Management in Africa, Bagamoyo, 14-17 March 2006, 80-89.
[13] Mwakyusa, P. H. (2010). Towards the Provision of Buildable Housing Land in Tanzania: The Case of the 20,000 Plots Project. MSc (Urban Planning and Management) Thesis, Dar es Salaam: Ardhi University.
[14] Mwiga, B. (2011). Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Regulatory Framework in Providing Planned Land in Urban Areas: The Case of the Dar es Salaam City 20,000 Plots Project, Tanzania. MSc Thesis, Enschede: University of Twente.
[15] Ngama, R. (2006). Effects of 20,000 Plots Project on Surroundings Neighbourhoods in Dar es Salaam: The Case of Bunju and Boko in Kinondoni Municipality. BSc Thesis, Dar es Salaam: Department of Land Management and Valuation, University College of Lands and Architectural Studies (UCLAS), University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM).
[16] Rakodi, C. (2004). Land for Housing in African Cities: Are Informal Land Delivery Systems Institutionally Robust and Pro-Poor? Paper to Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Secure Land Tenure: New Legal Frameworks and Tools, FIG Commission 7, UN-Habitat, Institution of Surveyors of Kenya (ISK), CASLE, Nairobi, 10-12 November 2004.
[17] Tiba, A. D., Mwarabu, G., Sikamkono, W. H., Kenekeza, H., Sarehe, S. R., Mwakalinga, V., & Fyito, V. (2005). The Implication of 20,000 Plots Project on the Emerging form of Dar es Salaam City. MSc Semester Project, Dar es Salaam: Department of Urban Planning and Management, UCLAS, UDSM.
[18] UN-Habitat (2010). Informal Settlements and Finance in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Nairobi: UN-Habitat.
[19] UN-Habitat (2014). The State of African Cities 2014. Nairobi: UN-Habitat.
[20] Wanzala, D. A. (2007). Executing a Land Delivery Project: Experience and Lessons from the 20,000 Plots Project. MSc (Real Estate) Dissertation, Dar es Salaam: Ardhi University.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.