Determinants of effective outsourcing of solid waste management in Tanzanian Local Government Authorities


  • Wilfred Lameck Mzumbe University, School of Public Administration and Management
  • Isaria Kisoli School of Public Administration and Management, Mzumbe University, Tanzania


Solid waste management - outsourcing, Solid waste management, Refuse and refuse disposal, Tanzania Local Government


Over the years, many countries have adopted outsourcing of service delivery as a means of increasing efficiency and recovering cost in service delivery. Nevertheless, in most cases, the outcomes of the outsourced services does not reflect the standards and expectations set at the beginning of the process. The situation also is similar in Tanzania where the solid waste management was outsourced to private service providers in local government authorities but overall, the outsourcing process resulted in mixed results with negative outweighing positive results. Literature on outsourcing cites various factors contributing to the failure or success of the outsourcing process. These include the capacity of local government, the nature of service, trust between partners and the institutional context but some of these factors have received little attention in the literature and the research studying the combination of these factors and the way they influence outsourcing process is scarce. The aim of this paper was to explore the determinants of effective outsourcing of solid waste management in Tanzania Local Government authorities and the way these factors (capacity of local government, the nature of service, the trust between partners and the institutional context) influence the process and its outcome. The study used a cross-case analysis with documentary reviews and 80 interviews conducted with local government officials, local politicians and service recipients in the four cases selected for this research. Data analysis involves contents analysis of policies and guidelines for outsourcing process in local government and thematic approach was used for the analysis of interview transcripts. The findings of this research shows that the outsourcing process in the four LGAs is guided by several regulations such as the Public Procurement Act, Public-Private Partnership Act and the guideline manual for the outsourcing process all of which together define the institutional context. On the other hand, the findings show that the four local government authorities involved in the research lack capacity, especially in the provision of dustbins. But also there is mistrust between the parties that has to a large extent affected the performance of the outsourcing process and the outcome. The overall conclusion is that, the outsourcing performance particularly of solid waste can be influenced by not only the nature of the service or capacity of local government but also the institutional context in which actors are operating. Therefore, policy reforms in outsourcing solid waste management should pay attention not only to the capacity of local government, nature of service or trust between the parties but also to the institutional context in which the actors are operating.