THE Netherland Embassy in the country has sponsored over 500 Tanzanians in the past three years through its Netherland Fellowship Programme (NFP) to undertake various academic disciplines in that country.
The Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Investment and Empowerment, Dr Mary Nagu, said in Dar es salaam on Tuesday evening that the scholarships brings to over 5,000 the total number of Tanzanians sponsored since independence.
Dr Nagu said this in a speech read on her behalf by the director in the Department of Europe and Americas in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ambassador Dora Msechu, during an event to bid farewell to scholarship beneficiaries.
The farewell reception was hosted by the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Tanzania, Dr Ad Koekkoek, for over 100 Tanzanian mid-career professionals who were selected to study in the Netherlands during the 2012-2013 academic year. Over 50 alumni also attended the event to share their experiences with the departing students.
These scholarships have been of great importance and assistance. The government attaches much hope on these beneficiaries because this opportunity will enhance their capacity of serving their nation," she said. Dr Nagu who is also an alumnus of the NFP, further commended the brilliant techniques employed by the embassy to give priorities in rare courses that will in turn help in capacity building to the country's labour force.
"These scholarships are vital in assisting the country achieve its development vision 2025 of becoming a middle income country," she said. Dr Ad Koekkoek said that his government believes in knowledge sharing because, "Sharing and pooling of knowledge is one of the main tools for development." He estimated that over 5,000 Tanzanians have received fellowships to study in the Netherlands since Tanzania attained independence 50 years ago.
"The number of Tanzanians who have attained this opportunity makes Tanzania one of the top achievers in the programme. Although the Netherlands is a small country, we perform very well in certain areas that might be useful to Tanzania," he said. The Ambassador mentioned that the Netherland is the world's second largest exporter of agricultural goods, despite its small size in terms of land, as a symbol of the country's technological advancement.
He said that as Tanzania is now venturing onto gas and oil exploration, there is a lot to learn from the Netherlands for their long time expertise in gas production and exportation as it is also one of the biggest natural gas producers in the world. The Chief Secretary, Ambassador Ombeni Sefue, who is the beneficiary of the NFP attended the event and said that the government values the Netherland's support and that it will help greatly in capacity building.
"I am a beneficiary of the Netherlands scholarships and I can say that I benefited a lot from the knowledge I got through their support and thousands of other Tanzanians have benefited, he said. Mr Sefue called upon those who have been lucky to know that they are privileged and make sure that they use the opportunity wisely for their own good and the country at large.