Social License to Operate (SLO) can be described as an informal consent or support by a local community for a project to exist in the community. SLOs have been gaining wider attention within the natural resource industry over the past decade. This is partly due to communities increasing their involvement in the extractive industry by demanding a greater share of the benefits and more involvement in decision-making processes. While much of the current literature has largely focused on explaining how companies can acquire and maintain SLOs, little attention has been paid to understanding the role that governments can play in shaping SLO processes. This study examines the role of the Tanzanian government in reaching and maintaining SLOs in the extractive industry. Moreover, this study analyzes factors that hinder the government from playing a more active role in ensuring SLOs exist. It examines three key aspects through which a government may enhance SLO processes. These are: 1) the presence of social inclusion policies, 2) government’s capacity and mechanisms to implement these policies at all levels of governance and, 3) government’s interest and willingness to implement the policies. This study discovered that the government of Tanzania is currently encountering many challenges with regards to the management of the extractive industry and to a large extent it has ignored the contribution of citizens in the management of this industry. Although the government of Tanzania has funnelled energy and resources into improving policies and regulations to guide the extractive industry, weak implementation mechanisms and lack of strong political will make these policies and regulations less impactful. Lack of accountability mechanisms coupled with corruption, poor transparency and the government’s negligence of community’s concerns were found to be the major weaknesses regarding the government’s involvement in ensuring that SLOs are achieved in Tanzania’s extractive industry.
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Thesis advisor: Cooper, Elizabeth
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