A recent media engagement between media practitioners in Tanzania, the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), and the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) has indicated that Tanzania ranks higher than the average of sub-Saharan African countries in Governance.
Meeting in Dar es Salaam at Serena on the 31st of August it was reported that Tanzania has made a comparatively impressive economic growth of 7.3 percent in 2013 up from 6.9 percent in 2012. Economic growth has remained robust with strong performance in manufacturing and services.
A range of issues were discussed and a series of questions were responded to by Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozile, Executive Secretary with an assistance of other staffs from the ESRF.
The working relations of the two institutions namely, the ACBF and the ESRF goes as far as 1994 when the later was established with the full support of the former. With the passing of the years the working relations have assumed news roles and turns due to emerging economic avenues the latest being the prospective oil and gas economy.
Prof. Nnadozile noted that working relations in research and capacity building have to a large extent assisted policy makers to make informed choices particularly on how best to engage the private sector in the running of the economy which for the number of years was dominated by the public sector.
“We have played our party well, and we will still do the same in areas of assisting and enhancing capacities in evolving the development potentials, also issues of gender parity, strengthening governance and making the government to face challenges more competitively” remarked the don.
It was noted that the ESRF has contributed a lot towards the Tanzania Development Vision 2025, Mining Policy, Trade Policy, the East African Community Development Strategies for 2001 -2005 and 2006-2010.
He elaborated further that his institution in collaboration with the ESRF have provided support to managers in various capacities from policy managers in the banking sector, it has strengthened the civil society organizations and the media as well in understanding how to tackle the challenges more competitively.
In reference to the ESRF, Prof. Nnadozile had this to say “over the past 20 years, ACBF has approved a total grant of USD 11 million to support the institution, ensuring it of long-term investment to enable it to continue rendering valuable services to the country and the region”.
He advanced that these co-operation were fundamental in enlightening how Tanzania should liaise with other partners in development, one such efforts being the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), while the overall products of such efforts have been job creation, empowering women and demand driven solutions depending on priorities of each individual country.
He further added that new acquired knowledge has helped in bringing more inclusiveness, skills that are needed to the extent that Tanzania is one of good performance in economic growth. He as well acknowledged that apart from economic development his institution has taken aboard issues of governance being an important requisite for prosperity.
However, he did not hesitate to give his frank opinion on how natural resources has have led to disasters in many African countries; “Tanzania should never fail prey but learn from other countries which had fallen because of their failure to manage well the benefits of their resources,” he warned.
He advised further that African countries should never export goods in crude forms, because by doing so they are exporting employment opportunities. He also called upon African leaders to enhance their positions when discussing the Local Content Agreements (LCAs) in the mining sectors and extractive industries.
Other areas of importance to promulgate according to the don are: enhancement of railway transportation, fully utilization of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs).
For his part, Ian Shanghvi, researcher from the ESRF said that his institution has carried a series of researches on the new booming gas economy in order to avoid thedevastate ‘Dutch disease’ results that the extractive industries have caused in other countries.
Noting the negative trends elsewhere, and with an intention to avoid similar happenings, the ESRF has conducted baseline studies in Iringa, Mtwara under the support of the ACBF. He also cherished the development of having a reliable optic fiber which has facilitated the hosting of six government websites.
“We conducted researches in order to understand what should be done in the advance of the booming gas economy, in identifying what has gone wrong where there are discrepancies, and forecasting for how long such an economy will benefit this country,” he said.
He also assured that through experiences elsewhere, the gas economy will improve lives of Tanzanians particularly the Local Government Authorities where such extractive activities are conducted directly, if only there will be long-term calculated plans.
Demanding to know on this presentation was Orton Kiishweko from the Standard Newspapers publishers of the Daily News who asked that of recent a number of fresh graduates have learnt a lot on the ICTs but they lack employment while no institutions are seriously organizing programmes of how to utilize such skills.
The senior journalist was asking this in the light of weak capacities across the continent in the oil and gas sector. But also in a situation where younger people in the ICT do not have the management experience or know how to turn those solutions into commercialised or monetised services
But also a number of journalists who responded to the presentations argued along the same lines as to whether the government is doing enough to curb the ever increasing number of unemployed in Tanzania.
Responding to these Prof. Nnadozile said the best way is to support strong small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which can accommodate such populations and this is a duty to be achieved through the Public and Private Partnership (PPP).