15 April 2014

Tanzania: Dar Needs Investment Growth for Rapid Development

LAST week, an independent research institution, Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA) which is aimed at creating and utilising knowledge to facilitate socio-economic development organised its 19th annual research workshop.

The two day event under the theme titled, "Transformation, Job creation and Poverty eradication, Enterprise Development for more inclusive growth" was graced by President Jakaya Kikwete at Bahari Beach Hotel on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam.

Other dignitaries who attended the meeting were some invited Regional Commissioners (RCs), District Commissioners (DCs), Honourable Ministers, Heads of some diplomatic missions accredited in the country and economic researchers.

In his speech President Kikwete described inclusive growth investment as key pillar in the country's quest to realise anticipated development goals, improved national economy and subsequently reduce both income and non-income poverty facing millions of Tanzanians.

"The main challenge facing the country, at the moment, is how to link these natural resources available in different parts of Tanzania with the aspirations of the Development Vision 2025 and the socioeconomic transformation," he said.

"The strategies and policies are meant to ensure that our people participate productively in the utilisation of natural resources we are blessed with," he said, adding that he would make sure this is effectively implemented before his retirement next year.

He underscored the importance of oil and gas sector and that it should be given a priority it deserve as a subsector, given the volume of the resources, the intensity of capital investments and flow of revenues expected from their commercialisation.

According to REPOA's Executive Director, Prof Samuel Wangwe, a two day meeting had the main objectives that discussed ways and look at the possibility on how small scale farmers including entrepreneurs in the country could increase their daily incomes for their survival.

It is from this point of view he noted that, the core business of REPOA which stands for Report on Poverty Alleviation relies with a view to improving the quality of life of the entire people of Tanzania.

The presentations in this workshop were structured around for reviews basing on the availability of employment opportunities, that addressed how to tackle poverty stricken situation in Tanzania.

They have also highlighted challenges and risks of achieving high growth which is not accompanied with the requisite transformation of the economy and widespread job creation.

During a two day meeting, various presentations from experts and distinguished scholars from Tanzania and other countries were selected strategically for the sharing of experiences of the enterprise transformation for inclusive growth.

Apart from Tanzania, the workshop also drew some of the key speakers from Japan, USA, Bangladesh, Netherlands and Switzerland. Over 20 presentations during these two days of the workshop covered a wide range of topics in the theme of the workshop.

Contributing his ideas over the topic, a Japanese Professor of Development Economics Keijiro Otsuka said in its paper titled 'Cluster based Industrial Development: KAIZEN management for MSE growth' that, in order to reduce widespread poverty and achieve inclusive growth in developing countries, it is essential to create jobs by promoting industrial development.

He said, there is no clear cut as this is an effective strategy to create employment in developing countries, adding that there is a large number of case studies related to the development of industrial clusters.

He said the effectiveness of this is based on the results of six KAIZEN management training experiments conducted primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa region, Tanzania included.

Professor Otsuka argues in his paper that, efficient management is the key to the innovation, which in turn is a major engine of firm and industrial growth, adding that management training molt only enhances management capacity of entrepreneurs, but also serves as an effective screening device to identify promising and non-promising entrepreneurs.

KAIZEN programme is a kind of entrepreneurship training for inclusive industrial development which is being used to a larger extent by Japanese government for its people.

The programme which in recent years was introduced in Tanzania by Japanese government through its International Cooperation Agency (JICA), is being run in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry since 2008.

Its main objectives are to make jobs more effective for entrepreneurs in Tanzania. Dr Shenggen Fan, the Director General of the US based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), said that smallholder farmers are an important participant in the economic transformation of developing countries amid increasing demographic, climatic, economic and natural resource pressures.

He said in his paper titled, 'From subsistence to profit: Transforming smallholder farms' that, not all smallholders are the same, adding that they face diverse opportunities and challenges and live in different types of economies.

He further argues that while some smallholders have the potential to undertake profitable commercial activities in agriculture, others should be supported in exiting agriculture and seeking non farm opportunities (both rural and urban), adding that policies must also be adapted to reflect the country's stage of transformation.

Dr Christopher Awinia of Praxis Tanzania Limited who is experienced in policy analysis and development planning argues in his paper presentation that, there have been increasing trends of rural to urban youth migration without corresponding job creation in Tanzania.

He said in his paper titled, 'Structural barriers, constraints and urban youth employment: The case of Ilala Municipality' that, the trends have been responsible for creation of low labour productivity informal urban enterprises.

He said, the trend has further contributed to long term urban youth unemployment and increased absolute number of unemployed urban youth, adding that as a result youth in urban areas have not benefitted from growth mainly because of lack of access to services that contribute to their productive capabilities.

Prof David Nyange, a Tanzanian national and agricultural economist with over 20 years experience in academic and development work, said in his paper presentation that Africa's economies are transforming rapidly with GDP projected to grow at 6 per cent this year compared to 3.2 per cent globally and that Tanzania economy is projected to grow mush higher.

In his paper titled, 'Opportunities and challenges for Tanzania's agriculture in contributing to economic transformation and job creation' he noted that, despite impressive macro economic performance, poverty, food and nutrition security have remained elusive.

He further argues that one third of Tanzania's population still lives below the national poverty line and 38 per cent of under 5 years children are stunted.

He further noted that since 75 per cent of Tanzanians are employed in agriculture, it is therefore imperative that the agricultural sector holds the key to eradication of poverty and hunger and promoting broad based growth through jobs creation.

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