10 December 2012

Tanzania: A Case for Tanzania to Embrace Smart Partnership Dialogue

TANZANIA is a member of a movement called Smart Partnership Dialogue that provides the platform for close interaction between the Heads of State/Government, captains of industry, labour leaders, social groups, civil servants, professionals from the media and academia, youths and other interest groups, to harmonise various issues of socio-economic development. In this article, Correspondent Moses Ferdinand explains its genesis and importance to the country...

WE all need development. And this fact is true to individuals, companies, nations and the list goes on. However, the contentious issue has always been the way to attain such progress, both social and economic ones. In history, various development models have been propagated as best compared to others --all efforts seeking to creating and reaching satisfactory level of living.

However, majority of stakeholders the world over have in recent years, agreed that a wide range participation of diverse groups of people in a society is a requisite to attaining sustainable development in the world. In essence, this is what Smart Partnership Dialogue is all about. Since it began in Langkawi, Malaysia in 1995 it has given a drive to the promotion of smart partnership relationships among Governments and the diverse private sector through the creation of national, regional and international hubs within the Commonwealth countries and beyond.

The Smart Partnership International Dialogues are held alternately between Malaysia and countries in Southern Africa and are jointly organised by the Commonwealth Partnership for Technology Management (CPTM) and the Malaysian Industry- Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT). Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC) has been designated as the hub for Smart Partnership Dialogue and has been tasked to undertake the National Smart Partnership Dialogue, commencing from the District, Regional up to National level in January 2013; as a stepping stone to the International Smart Partnership Dialogue scheduled from 24th - 28th May 2013 in Dar es Salaam.

The theme for the Global 2013 Smart Partnership Dialogue is "Leveraging Technology for Africa's Socio-Economic Transformation :The Smart Partnership Way". According to the acting Executive Secretary of Tanzania Business Council (TNBC), Mr Samson Chemponda, the main objective of Smart Partnership Dialogue is to enhance Government's engagement with all sectors of the society in enhancing information, knowledge and expertise in finding solutions to sustainable development challenges.

"The Smart Partnership Dialogue is a relatively new consultation concept in the Tanzania planning process," he explains. He says that Smart Partnership Dialogue series promote the principles and practice of the 'Smart Partnership' approach to create cooperation between Government and other sectors which contribute to enhancement of social and economic activities. 'Smart Partnership' is an innovative concept that is based on positive ethos of 'prosper thy neighbour' for 'win-win' situation.

According to Chemponda, the Smart Partnership Dialogue would invariably enhance ownership and buy in of the general public and government commitment in socio-economic transformation of the country once shared vision and consensus has been attained.

The dialogue process will provide a platform for the diverse stakeholders in a more inclusive note to discuss and articulate the challenges and solutions in the realisation of the goals of Vision 2025. He notes that Government officials, captains of industry, labour leaders, social groups, civil servants, professionals from the media and academia, youths and other interest groups, will harmonise various issues of socioeconomic development and the role of technology in business development.

"The organization of Smart Partnership Dialogue in Tanzania will enliven the dialogue on MKUKUTA (National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty in Tanzania - NSGRP) and The Tanzania Five-Year Development Plan 2011/12-2015/2016 as instruments in the implementation of Vision 2025," he says.

Chemponda explains that Smart Partnership Dialogue demands that at the end of the National Dialogue, an Action Plan Matrix is prepared, submitted to the Cabinet and subsequently to the Parliament for launching the implementation process and budget allocation. According to Prof. Lucian Msambichaka, what appears to be of value-addition in the Smart Partnership Dialogue is that it is inclusive and demands active participation and visible role of professionals, thinkers, experts, planners and entrepreneurs in the transformation process.

"It is perceived that through inclusiveness the challenges of transformation that face the nation can be overcome or turned into opportunities and the innovators be seen," he says. According to the Professor, one other great value of having Smart Partnership forum is that it can unite the country's leaders with their people, the citizens they serve in a very conducive environment that allows a change from the norm where everybody sits around the table as equals to share ideas on the way forward.

"Smart Partnership is about "prosper- thy- neighbour" for "win-win-situation", it is about "solving challenges by working together" and it is about "I need you"- "You need me". At the end of it all "We need each other!," he explains. He emphasised that through Smart Partnership every Tanzanian is expected to play her/his part in transformation. "The "winning" is possible but it all depends on the dynamics of the smart partnership dialogue, the drive, the commitment, the process, the mechanism used and government commitment," he notes.

He says that Tanzania can only make it to middle income country if it harnesses science and technology for socio-economic transformation. "Harnessing Science and Technology is the key to facilitating the transition to socio-economic transformation," he says. He says that the Vision 2025 is a capsule that constitutes several socio-economic issues for transformation and the National Smart Partnership Dialogue would attempt to articulate them, discuss them, analyze them and reach a consensus.

To show the government's commitment to the National Smart Partnership Dialogue, Premier Mizengo Pinda during a meeting that involved regional and district commissioners and other leaders in the country who met to discuss the Smart Partnership Dialogue in Dodoma recently urged them to embrace Smart Partnership Dialogue.

"There is a special thing about Smart Partnership Dialogue meetings, they create an avenue for leaders and citizens to meet and discuss development agendas and reach consensus on the way forward, this is very crucial in attaining development," the Premier said. Mr Pinda said that this concept acknowledges the value of common people in the country's development and therefore leaders should be keen to understand and explain it to their people.

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