Self-Employment Creation for University Graduates in Tanzania: Opportunities and Ways to Set Own Business

Joseph L.M. Shitundu


The labour market conditions for university graduates have changed significantly in many countries worldwide. Unlike previously, now many university graduates are becoming unemployed and hence prompting some of them to engage in self-employment activities. In Tanzania both phenomena are emerging and growing, and it now requires concerted policy interventions to deal with them as part of the efforts to combat unemployment, create decent employment, and hence contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (NSGRP). This article uses results of a survey conducted in 2005/06 which established that 414 graduates of various disciplines were already involved in self-employment activities across regions and sectors in Tanzania; and the challenges and opportunities for self-employment creation exist in the country. The study found out that university graduates require assistance and support to create high income and high productivity self-employment activities. Several challenges—including negative attitudes, lack of critical business skills, poor planning, and lack of capital and poor market strategies—have also to be addressed. This study proposes four strategies to deal with the challenges: training for proper skills and knowledge about self-employment creation; improving credit availability; improving infrastructural facilities; and updating other policy issues, particularly on taxation. Also, the private sector, special funds and training programmes should be available to help university graduates in such endeavours. The government, too, has role in ensuring that policy and business environment are conducive and supportive to graduate self-employment creation initiatives. In addition, graduates themselves have great role to play in terms of undertaking further training and learning, as well as in issues like networking.


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