The Netherlands as a Strategic Partner on Enterprising Youth

Tanzania is projected to become one of the most populous countries in Africa over the next few decades, with a population growth from around 60 million currently to 137 million by 2050, according to the UN. About 78% of the population is aged below 35 years, which merits a specific focus on youth by the Netherlands.

Despite not being a large ODA donor anymore, small-scale strategic and targeted interventions, diplomacy and partnerships can help youth to overcome the many challenges they face, and have a better chance to seize enumerable opportunities especially from productive sectors. This is in particular relevant for the agriculture sector which employs more than 70% of the Tanzanian workforce.

Visit of the Dutch Youth Ambassador

The Dutch Ambassador At-Large for Youth, Education & Work (AMAD) Mr. Tijmen Rooseboom visited Tanzania in April 2022 to highlight cooperation around prospects for youth. During his stay in Tanzania, the youth ambassador paid visit to young entrepreneurs, agripreneurs, youth-led companies and start-up incubators in and around Dar-es-Salaam.

Among other projects, he visited a young entrepreneur who set up a business to connect housekeepers with families in a way that guarantees a safe and decent working environment for girls at risk of exploitation. Next, Mr. Rooseboom visited East Africa Fruits & Farm Company, managed by youth a thriving business that works together with SNV as part of the CRAFT program to train agricultural producers and hence create a strong and short supply chain for banana and potatoes. Furthermore he met with the founder of Sahara Ventures, one of the first start-up incubators of the country to discuss the start-up ecosystem.

“The visit of the Ambassador for Youth, Education and Work, Tijmen Rooseboom, was an excellent opportunity to highlight our programs and projects on youth. Mr. Rooseboom spoke with a lot of young entrepreneurs on their successes and challenges and he dialoged with a group of young politicians of 5 political parties on the agenda of the future. We identified a lot of promising future activities.” - H.E. Mr. Wiebe de Boer, Ambassador of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Tanzania.

Tanzanian youth at the heart

Tanzania is one of the most youthful countries in the world. The share of youth will only increase, given the annual population growth of nearly 3%. Appr. 800.000 youth enter the labour market each year, for which only around 360.000 formal jobs are available. Many youth are self-employed by default and take part in the informal economy. Agriculture is the largest youth employer in which also numerous Dutch companies are active.

Tijmen Rooseboom (Youth Ambassador) visiting a youth-led poultry farm in Kigamboni, Dar es Salaam

NL as a partner to enterprising youth

The Netherlands is investing in several programmes and partnerships to promote entrepreneurship and agripreneurship of youth, and to strengthen the voices and position of youth within Tanzanian society. Examples are ;

  • the CRAFT program, an IGG funded program to increase the availability of climate smart foods for the growing population in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda
  • a recent joint program with the Embassy in Nairobi (Kenya) supporting young photojournalists from Tanzania and Kenya showcasing the current realities on the impact of climate change on food systems and supporting the work of the Tanzania Startup Association (TSA)

Opportunities outnumber challenges

There are many challenges for young people. The gap between education and the labor market and a regulatory framework that insufficiently creates a conducive environment for young entrepreneurs are just two of them.

However, there are many opportunities. Tanzania ranks as 3rd most innovative country in Sub-Sahara Africa. There is a thriving start-up community with a lot of potential to create jobs and prospects for youth. Furthermore, the country is gradually opening up to seize the opportunities that come along with having this youthful population.

The government of Tanzania acknowledges the importance of prioritizing youth. This makes a promising outlook. Still there is a long way to go to prioritize the prospects of youth and harness the demographic dividend of the country.

Collaboration with Tanzania Startup Association - Support to Tanzanian Start-up Act

Two years ago, the Embassy started cooperation with the Tanzania Start-up Association (TSA) to seek ways to strengthen the policy framework and ecosystem for start-ups. AMAD and the Ambassador of the Netherlands in Tanzania spoke at the launch of a comparative study on start-up acts in Africa. The findings and recommendations offer a sound basis for a Start-up Act for Tanzania.

During the launch, Tanzanian authorities committed to follow up to the study. AMAD also spoke with the Director General of the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) about their role in realizing the Start-Up Act.

The Embassy provides regular updates on developments in the agriculture sector. To receive the updates follow us on our Twitter account @NLAgriTanzania and subscribe to our newsletter by sending an email to