Newly discovered gas reserves in the Indian Ocean shores may be causing uproar in Mtwara but a Memorandum of Understanding signed in Arusha will enable the University of Dar-Es-Salaam to start working on special programs to churn out experts in the field of gas and oil.
Last weekend UDSM management inked a special 'Trinity Memorandum of Understanding,' to be known as the 'Arusha Protocol' with the Augustino Neto University of Angola and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), which will assist the country's leading academic brain trust to groom and produce highly qualified experts on oil exploration and gas resources management.
The three institutions that met at the Mount Meru Hotel have agreed to operate on a platform called the Angolan, Norwegian, and Tanzanian Higher Education Initiative (ANTHEI), aimed at promoting academic and cultural ties between the parties in areas of education, academic, research and administrative in the disciplines of natural sciences, engineering and related areas.
Under the 'Arusha protocol' the universities will be exchanging students pursuing studies in areas of petroleum engineering and petroleum geosciences.
The agreement was signed by Prof Makenya Maboko on behalf of UDSM, Prof Doutor Orlando-da-Mata of University of Augustino Neto signed on behalf of Angola and Norway was sealed by Prof Torbjorn Digernes, rector at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The event was also witnessed by the Norwegian Ambassador to Tanzania, Ingunn Klepsvik
Speaking soon after the signing ceremony, senior official from ministry of Energy and Minerals, Mr Adam Zuberi said the new deal plays an imperative role to Tanzania's gas and oil industry, which is in high demand of local experts.
He said despite the fact that Tanzania's government has started working with local universities to train more experts in the new industry, the new deal will take the East African country into the next level.
An engineer with the Tanzania Petroleum Development Cooperation (TPDC), Eng Modestus Lumato, lauded Norway for its long support to countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa including Tanzania.
He said Norway, one of the highly developed countries in oil and gas, has been working with Tanzania for years.
"This new deal is an evidence that Norway is a true partner in socio-economic development," engineer Lomato said, adding that the new cooperation will make Tanzania and Angola generate more professionals in oil and gas.
The official was optimistic that by 2015, the number of local experts in oil and gas will be high in Tanzania, as some of the students were in the Scandinavian country pursuing studies in the area.
"This agreement comes at an opportune time when Tanzania witnesses big discoveries of natural resources and growing prospects for discovery of oil," said Prof Maboko who is the Vice Chancellor of UDSM.
He asserted that UDSM has been repositioned to become a reputable center of knowledge propagation and creation in as far as oil and gas is concerned.
"We have developed a curriculum for BSc.in Petroleum Engineering that is now being discussed at various organs of the university. Our aim is to have our first intake for petroleum engineering in the coming academic year 2013-2014," he said.
The acting VC revealed that UDSM's department of geology and chemistry has been instructed to develop curricular in the areas of oil and gas that will save the needs of the emerging industry.
"Eventually we aim to develop a one stop center that is well equipped to provide training, research and consulting services for oil and gas industry in the country and the region," Prof Maboko stated.
He also noted that Tanzania will learn a lot from Angola, taking into account that the country has started exploring oil many years ago.