The cultural sector of Tanzania faces several challenges; primarily a lack of training of cultural stakeholders and cultural institutions. Some of these obstacles are being overcome through cultural diplomacy initiatives initiated by the Tanzanian government, such as NOTA and EASTAFAB. As well as bringing together artists from East Africa and beyond, EASTAFAB aims to improve the skills, careers and working conditions of artists in Tanzania. Thus, the biennale contributes not only to intercultural exchange in the East African region, but also to enhanced professionalism and institutional capacity within the cultural sector of Tanzania. NOTA, with a mission to strengthen the institutional capacity of TaSUBa (one of the main official cultural training institutions in Tanzania), is also a project confronting this challenge.
As was mentioned in the introduction, the cultural sector can be seen as an important part of economic and social development in Tanzania, something which is emphasised in the country’s cultural policy. This aim is notably mirrored in Mfuko through its aim to ensure socio-economic integration, poverty alleviation and sustainable development through the provision of grants to various cultural projects in the country. As Tanzania is one of the region’s most culturally diverse countries, Mfuko can be regarded as an important vehicle for enhanced cultural diplomacy.
Another trend evident in Tanzanian cultural diplomacy projects is the partnership between the government and its Scandinavian partner countries. Sweden and Norway in particular have for decades been active development partners with Tanzania, something reflected in both the NOTA project, as well as the joint funding of Mfuko. NOTA can be regarded as an especially successful example of the partnership between two countries on different continents. While the contribution to strengthened cultural institutional management is one of the missions of the NOTA project, it also focuses on student exchanges between the two countries as well as educational programmes on East African culture, targeting children and young adults in Norway.
Even though the government of Tanzania faces many challenges regarding the initiation and funding of culturally diplomatic activities, the Ministry of Information, Culture and Sports has initiated or is funding several promising projects. As is shown in this overview of cultural diplomacy projects in Tanzania, its government is engaged in projects which enhance intercultural exchange within the country, as well as between Tanzania and other countries. This is promising not only for Tanzania, but for the East African region as a whole.