opinionBy Bilham Kimati
PREDICTION by Bill Gates, the world's richest man, about the end of global poverty in 20 years time has been backed by academicians and politicians in the country, who suggested measures to shorten the time frame to the convenience of the population.
Mr Hamad Rashid (CUF - Wawi) said there was no excuse for countries especially in Africa, which are heavily endowed with resources, Tanzania being no exception, not to rid themselves of poverty. "Bill Gates is absolutely correct and the projected 20 years is perhaps too long to wait.
Asian countries like China, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea among others, which had equally weak economies like many of the countries in Africa have successfully fought poverty.
Why not us?" Mr Rashid remarked. Greed and corruption in Africa has grossly undermined development, he added, such that resources which should have been distributed equally to the majority is amassed by a few individuals. Commenting on the role of multi-national companies, the politician cum academician said they should stop siphoning resources from poor countries.
"Exploitative business agreements by investors must be abolished and rich nations should keep an open eye on that. A thief will steal once assured of a market and the market is provided by strong economies.
Fair trade systems and equal distribution of the global wealth will help eradicate poverty," Rashid explained. A seasoned political scientist, Dr Benson Bana from the University of Dar es Salaam equated corruption to bon-marrow cancer that has caused serious affliction in developing world. "Effective management of the available resources must be the priority. A win-win situation is necessary between investors and a host nation.
Those entrusted to bargain contracts on behalf of the nation must avoid egoistic attitude. National leaders must be committed to live by example advocating self reliance spirit," he clarified. Halima Hamisi (64) who is a retired secondary school teacher challenged the youth to avoid idleness. "Laziness is another disease which should be treated with concerted efforts.
Some individuals spend 18 hours a day on computer games or smart-phones or pool games, instead of doing something that could contribute to the country's economy," she observed.Newly appointed Deputy Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Jenista Mhagama said well guided education system would be the most effective tool to fight poverty.
She declared resolve to work closely with all stakeholders, to institute positive changes with proportional increase in resources for education sector. "A strong and focused education foundation will not only give many Tanzanians access to various opportunities but also help them acquire skills for self employment and the subsequent fight against poverty.
Every constructive idea with regard to improvement of our education system and performance will be accommodated. "This nation belongs to all of us and it is time to focus on the best options to address contemporary challenges ranging from requirements by school teachers, need for classrooms, text books among others," Mhagama said.
She recalled the country's resolve since early days of independence to eradicate three enemies, namely diseases, ignorance and poverty. "Purposeful education is the most effective 'tool' to end poverty as predicted by Bill Gates.
Diseases and ignorance will disappear as well," she said. Dr Hingribert Ngilisho from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) concurred with observations by the deputy minister over the possibility to end poverty through good education, but insisted that proper education must be a national priority and disagreement on lines of weaknesses, with regard to dysfunctional teaching syllabus and other huddles should be discouraged.
In his recent communiqué, Gates, with a fortune of US dollar 78.5billion, used his annual letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to criticise the belief that extreme poverty and disease are unsolvable, calling it a 'harmful' opinion.
The Microsoft tycoon, (58), dispels the 'three myths' which he claims hold back developing countries - that poverty is an endless cycle, foreign aid is a waste and saving lives leads to overpopulation. Gates predicted that by 2035, there would be almost no poor countries left in the world, using today's World Bank classification of low-income countries -- even after adjusting for inflation.